Saturday, February 19, 2011

Winter's Bone

What a beautiful, bleak movie this is. It's the story of Ree, who lives in a cabin with her depressed mute mother, and her much younger sister and brother. Her father is due in court for cooking crack, he's put the house up as collateral for bail, and he's disappeared. It's up to Ree to find him, or they lose the house. Every member of her kin folk that she goes to for information, aggressively turns her away. If her father is truly dead, as her Uncle Teardrop declares, she has to prove it. Jennifer Lawrence puts in a hugely powerful, yet vulnerable performance as Ree. Her love of her family is obvious, especially for her siblings. She actively tries to nurture them, even in the midst of this chaos and oppression. The pecking order of these families, is nothing short of horrific. I have never been to this area of America, nor experienced this life (thank goodness), but it felt so real and raw. The menace and twisted sense of loyalty that the families have for each other is palpable. And the women, blimey, don't mess with the women. This is not an easy film to watch, not by a long shot. I doubt if the subject matter is too exaggerated, right down to the cowardly corrupt sheriff. Though to be fair, you think, well what other choice did he have when dealing with people whose way of thinking is, quite frankly, this primitive? Put it this way, it doesn't make you want to rush out and buy property in Missouri. It also shows the very real hardhips that people like Ree have to face. The scene where she goes to find out about signing up for the Army is really poignant. There are some moments of real humanity. Some of the friendships are very touching as is the obvious deep bond to the country area that these people have been born into. WINTER'S BONE: Will chill you right down to yours. 7/10

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