The feel good film of the year. An uplifting cinematic romp. Happy-go-lucky to boot! This is not that film. I was not expecting it to be when I sat down to watch it, either. However, director Debra Granik really worked the sad factor. The syuzhet of Winter’s Bone is a serious one and can not be taken lightly. This stands especially true for anyone who feels that this film hits close to home. See, this kind of thing actually happens in real life.
Ree, played by the new and fantastic Jennifer Lawrence, is a mother though she has no children of her own. Her own mother is essentially catatonic, her young siblings rely on her for everything, and her father… well, her father isn’t around.
See, Ree has herself a problem, I reckon. Seein’ as her pa done took off and her mama’s got the personality of a big ol’ rock, Ree’s fixin’ to find her pa so’s her family can keep their land. With the law sniffin’ around the property, the heat is on and things ain’t lookin’ too good.
Ahem… so Ree sets her sights on her father who, according to lots of folks, is dead. Unless she can prove to the police that he has, in fact, passed on then she is in a whole heap of trouble. More than what she’s got now. She must resort to doing things that no girl her age should have to do. It doesn’t help things much that her uncle, Teardrop (John Hawkes), carries around a sandwich baggy of cocaine and doesn’t seem like the most positive adult supervision. Unfortunately, he’s all she’s got.
On the bright side, she has a good friend, her siblings are remarkably well-behaved, and she has a neighbor that looks out for her.
Her search leaves her beaten to a pulp mentally and physically. One dead end after another forces her to beg her mother for help to no avail.
It is unspeakably rude to spoil the ending of a movie. I will simply tell you that in the end, 127 Hours isn’t the only best picture nominee this year that contains a limb being cut off.