Thursday, January 31, 2013

Winter's Bone

Directed by Debra Granik
Starring Jennifer Lawrence

The Academy Awards are approaching, and time to think about film, performances, gowns and Hollywood. As an avid film buff, the awards are the one night a year the TV is all mine. Superbowl for flick fanatics. Watching the young Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss in The Hunger Games) snagging awards for best performance by an actress at SAG and Golden Globes for the film Silver Linings Playbook has been divine. Because in 2011, she lost out to Natalie Portman in Black Swan

My vote that year went to Jennifer Lawrence’s break-out, star-in-the-making performance in Winter’s Bone. Maybe a lot of theater-goers didn’t see this gripping, chilling, realistic portrayal of hard life in the Ozarks, but it was difficult to turn away from Lawrence’s immersion into a strong-minded but hopeful female character who believes in herself. Nominated for four Academy Awards, this R-rated film didn’t take any wins. Pity. But it should have-it was that riveting, it was that good, it was deserving…I watched it twice, and then bought the DVD. Okay, she should have won and here’s why this film deserves a second look, and why you want to borrow it from the library before her Oscar win next month. 

Seventeen year-old Ree Dolly (impressively played by nineteen year old Jennifer) lives in abject poverty in a sad house with a mother (basically catatonic here) and her two younger siblings. When her Father goes missing, Ree sets out to locate him to keep her family together. Given only one week to find him-dead or alive-she needs to to get the bond  removed from the house her father, Jessup, used as collateral. Following her Father’s trail, determined Ree has to enter the underbelly world of illegal Ozark meth-labs. Trekking to distant and near family members for help, she is met with silence and violence. Our heroine discovers that asking questions is forbidden and quieting voices forever is a reality, but with so much at stake she courageously goes looking for answers with very little to go on except, “Dollys don’t run.”  

The film is based on the book, Winter’s Bone, by Daniel Woodrell and tests what is family loyalty in a brutal world. Unforgettable film, relentless female characters, stark world… a different Hunger Games. Don’t miss this gem that Roger Ebert’s review gave 4 out of 4 stars, praising her performance.

For similar fare, check these DVD's out also:  Songcatcher, The Piano, and The Hunger Games

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