TMG Scale: 8.0
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes
Powerful. Sums it all up. Winter’s Bone is not for the superficial of mind or the shallow of spirit. It is also not a film likely to be featured by the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau. Nor will this film likely advance the careers of banjo instructors any more than Deliverance did. However, it was deep, moving and thought provoking. This is no fantasy film. TMG owns a home in the Ozarks and the people depicted in this movie, while certainly not the norm, certainly do exist. Sad but true.
Lawrence plays Ree Dolly, 17 year old with a stoned out and sick Mom and a drug dealing Dad who skipped bond and put their Ozarkian woodpile of a home at risk. She struggles to take care of her two younger siblings while trying to find her Dad and just keep things together for one more day. The extended family has other interests to protect. In many ways, this film is just a good reminder of how poor some folks really are. It also realistically teaches that not all country folk are Ma & Pa Kettle. The fact is, rural America has some real scumbag parents, drug users, abusers and dealers all in the same family. As this film depics, the underworld of drugs in rural American is anything but fancy cars, black leather, bling and makeup. There are so many “unbabes” [TMG’s own gentle term for cosmetically challenged women] in this movie you actually wonder if there is a third gender. Fortunately, Lawrence’s inner and exterior beauty and Juno style charisma keep one from getting totally icked out watching this movie.
Director Debra Granik captured the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner for this effort. Whether this is a great film, or the result was just great film-making, only time will tell. TMG really was enveloped and captured by it much the way heavy clouds hug a southern Missouri mountain top in winter. Granik paints an interesting brush of real world people. TMG was only disappointed at the goofball and cliche portrayal of the local sheriff. TMG knows many a rural sheriff. While some are colorful, virtually all are wonderful, dedicated, generous people that don’t deserve the stereotype dig.
TMG may not have yet inspired many to see this film, but I highly recommend it. It is not for everyone. Go see it yourself. Films win awards at Sundance for good reason.