Her family home in danger of being repossessed after her dad skips bail and disappears, Ozark teen Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) breaks the local code of conduct by confronting her kin about their conspiracy of silence. Should she fail to track her father down, Ree Dolly, her younger siblings, and their disabled mother will soon be rendered homeless.
In the book, the Gail/Ree relationship is elaborated much more. The director, Debra Granik, said that they filmed a lot the scenes on that Gail/Ree timeline that they had to drop from the final cut of the film out because of time restraints. See more »
Ree is wearing gloves when she gets up from the chicken coop. When she talks to Thump's wife, the gloves are off. When Thump's wife offers her the drink, the gloves are back on. When Ree drinks and returns the cup, the gloves are off again. See more »
A fine, fine film; an instant classic which is not to be missed.
Rarely do I have the privilege to see a film that is so raw, so real, that it takes over your senses and becomes much more than just a great movie - it becomes an experience or an event. "Winter's Bone" is the little movie of 2010 that does just that - it takes over your senses because what is happening on the screen is unabashedly and uncommonly real and not-Hollywood like that you become immersed in this rarely- explored world of the Ozarks.
Using a novel by Daniel Woodrell, director Debra Granik and co- screenwriter Anna Rosellini crafts a stark tale about a teenage Ozark girl who is forced to find her missing father before she and her two siblings get thrown out into the wild, due to dad putting up the house as a bond for his bail. The script is beautifully written, with very natural dialog throughout, you'll feel like you're there watching them. Every line has a meaning and is not without purpose, the main characters fleshed out in detail without excessive dialog overshadowing the character itself. The story is logical and extremely believable, and makes for a tense experience during the film. There are no clichéd Hollywood subplots and the story couldn't be more direct than a bullet to the heart. This is neo-noir at its finest.
I can't say more about the actors, because they are all excellent in their own unique way. Especially and most notably Jennifer Lawrence as the protagonist Ree Dolly. Now Ree's father is missing and mother gone sick, and she has to take care of her two siblings all by herself. To make matter worse she has been taking some flak because of her family name's notoriety due to her father's mistakes, but she remains steadfast and strong, unmoved like a rock. She learns how to be responsible and independent all by herself, and she is a tough character whose spirit shall never be broken, however hopeless and desolate her situation is (perhaps that is what built her character in the first place in absence of her parents). If Ree knows what to do, she does it. If she doesn't, she'll ask someone for help. She's being honest and not just smart. Keep in mind that this is an Ozark girl we're seeing on the screen, but there has very rarely been a hero(ine) that is so daring, brave and real, that the audience is firmly placed on her side as soon as trouble starts brewing. Ree has to face both the Ozark wilderness and the shady underground, both of which can cause serious trouble for her (and she does get into it). All Ree wants is to make sure her brother and sister have a roof to sleep under every night. To me, that selflessness and the love of her family that drives her makes her one of the most memorable and greatest female film heroine of recent times.
Which comes back to Jennifer Lawrence. She is absolutely terrific and perfect as Ree, a real knockout of a performance. She perfectly displays a balance of emotions and expresses her feelings with her face and not just explaining everything straight out of her mouth like so many hero(in)es. This is a true blue breakout performance for her and I honestly think she deserves many Best Lead Actress awards for her performance, and not just Best Breakout star. I've seen many movies and Lawrence's performance beats many previous Oscar winners' performances hands-down. Kudos also to other supporting actors, especially John Hawkes as Ree's uncle Teardrop, who delivers a guilt-ridden, burnt-out depiction of a nearly lost soul.
The Ozark landscape in the movie is beautiful to watch, but it emits a haunting, bleak presence. Something dark and mysterious but at the same time so simple and real. It is astounding the way Granik films these scenes to deliver the raw power and authenticity these images can deliver. It's like looking at a painting that comes to life. The interior of the buildings (and around them) are quite messy at times but it shows just how bleak the situation these people have to face every day. Not a pretty thought for us "normal" people, but then again what is normal when all Ree wants is to keep her family safe and nothing more? Kudos to the production designer and cinematographer for creating and/or choosing a unique setting that not all moviegoers can experience everyday. The atmospheric, ambient music pulls you in even further into this strange yet quietly dangerous world.
2010 has been a dull year for mainstream movies, but among the little known ones this could very well be the best one. I really hope the Academy doesn't overlook this like so many unfortunate movies before. It's a bit too soon for me to say but this may not only the film of the year, but also a true American masterpiece of a landscape that is nearly neglected by the public. A must see.
Overall rating: 94/100
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