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Winter’s Bone (2010)

February 17, 2011


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes
Director: Debra Granik (Down To The Bone)
Quick Thoughts: Meet Jennifer Lawrence. The 20 year old actress gives one of the best performances of the year in Winter’s Bone. How often does a young and relatively unknown actor or actress completely carry movie on their backs? Not often, but that’s the case here. Lawrence plays Ree Doddy, a 17 year old country girl that finds herself struggling to get by while caring for her two younger siblings because their mother is incompetent and mute and their father has disappeared. The law comes looking for Ree’s dad and gives notice that if he doesn’t appear for a court date, they are going to have to give up their property, which sends Ree on a hunt for her father and into the dark and twisted roots of their family tree. It’s a haunting film. We’re talking about a world where its commonplace to offer your 17 year old niece a joint as a sympathetic gesture because you’re husband just got done physically threatening her and there’s nothing wrong with teaching your 12 year old brother and six year old sister how to shoot a hunting rifle because they just might have to provide for themselves in the near future. It’s a grim tale and Ree really has no one to turn to because her family, immediate and extended, are all involved in cooking up crank. And don’t fuck with grandpa cause he will have your ass beat if you start asking questions. Or maybe kill you. Oddly enough, she finds an ally in her Uncle Teardrop, played by John Hawkes in an Oscar-nominated performance. At first, Teapot is painted as your typical drug-addled, abusive hick, but Hawkes turns the character into something deeper and sinister. Speaking of Oscar nominations, Lawrence got a well deserved nomination and even though Natalie Portman is heavily favored to win the statuette, Jennifer Lawrence is a serious darkhorse candidate. At any rate, her performance is better than Annette Bening in The Kids Are Alright or Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit. Winter’s Bone is at times heartbreaking, intense, and gripping. A true sleeper in 2010 and one you shouldn’t miss.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: More of a one time film than something you keep on repeat.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: Four nominations: Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor for John Hawkes, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Nudity: None.
Grade: 8/10 (Excellent)
Recommendation: Winter’s Bone has been overlooked by the masses, but it’s one of the better 2010 films I’ve seen. A solid thriller with some standout performances.

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