Winter's Bone (2010)

Drama
Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt, Isaiah Stone
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.
Bleak, haunting, and yet still somehow hopeful, Winter's Bone is writer-director Debra Granik's best work yet -- and it boasts an incredible, starmaking performance from Jennifer Lawrence.
  • Roadside Attractions Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 17 Sep 2010 Released:
  • 26 Oct 2010 DVD Release:
  • $6.5M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Neo noir, with a twist of white trash.10/10
This shockingly diverse film offers numerous delights to the viewer. Beginning with simple title credits, and ending in a beautiful display of foliage. Winter's Bone will grab your attention and never let go.

Based on a novel of the same name, it's the story of a seventeen year old girl who is searching for her missing father. Sound like something you've seen before? Well it's not! The basic premise surrounds itself with remarkably new idea's and situation's. A feeling of noir envelopes the screen and each character and action leads you on a most enjoyable journey. The Actor's and more importantly Actress, are dug so deep into their characters that there isn't a single fake second.

Debra Granik does an amazing job in the director/screenwriter role. Her vision entangles the story together and propels it forward to the unforgettable climax. The world that is shown through this film is one i was unfamiliar with, but after seeing it all i can think about is the life those characters lead. And how different it is from my own.

A film that deserved the grand jury award at Sundance and one which I plan to see again. Winter's Bone is a film for everyone, be you young, old, or in the middle. Just walk into the cinema with an empty plate and you will leave filled.
Haunting, Grim, but somehow Optimistic10/10
Winter's Bone is about a 17 year old girl name Rolly Dee set out to find her father who put their house for his bailbond and then vanishes. If she doesn't find him, her family will be turned out to the Ozarks. Challenging her outlaw kin's code of silence and risking her life, Ree hacks through the lies, evasions and threats offered up by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth.

Let me, just begin by saying this movie is perfectly acted. Jennifer Lawrence gives an Oscar Worthy performance as Rolly Dee. I was surprised how excellent she was, because I was sceptical of her in the "The Bill Engvall" show. But she turned me to a believer and boy, she can REALLY act. Her performance actually surpasses some of Meryl Streep's performances. Hopefully the Academy will recognize her and give an Oscar nomination or maybe even a win! The film is well directed by Debra Granik and is easily her best work yet. She definitely has potential to become the "new" Kathryn Bigelow. Anyways the film is really bleak and powerful, but it still has a tone of hopeful in it. Very interesting and mesmerizing movie to watch. It is a bit slow at times, but trust me it never gets boring or dull.

10/10 Highly recommended.
A rich, satisfying film9/10
It is quite astonishing what people are capable of when their survival or way of life is threatened. In those moments, they are somehow able to employ a level of courage, perseverance, and high intention that they never knew they had. Such is the case for young Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) in Debra Granik's The Winter's Bone, winner of the Jury Prize for dramatic competition as well as the Waldo Salt Screen writing Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Newcomer Lawrence, a Kentucky native, is completely convincing as the 17-year-old Ree who has endured much in her brief lifetime and has plenty of obstacles yet to overcome. Living in poverty in a small house in the rural Missouri Ozarks, near the Arkansas border, she has to cook, chop wood and do whatever is necessary to care for her twelve-year old brother Sonny (Isaiah Stone) and her six-year old sister Ashlee (Ashlee Thompson) as well as look after her mother who is catatonic.

Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell and co-written by Granik and Anne Rosellini, The Winter's Bone depicts how young Ree's life is changed when the local sheriff informs her that her dad, Jessup, on the run after being arrested for "cooking" methamphetamines, has put the family's house up as bond and that, unless he is found and convinced to turn himself in, Ree's family will lose their house. Insisting to the sheriff that she will find him, the young girl begins a search among friends, family members, distant relatives, and the community of small-time crooks, dope dealers, and kingpins that dominate the male-dominated rural society. No one wants to talk and Ree is met with silence, hostility, and even violence. One neighbor tells her that her questioning is, "a real good way to end up et by hogs." When someone asks her, "Ain't you got no men folk to do this?" the answer is an emphatic "no." (at times, the film seems to be challenging Juno for the most quirky one-liners).

Ree's main antagonists are her father's terrifying older brother Teardrop, played by John Hawkes, and Merab (Dale Dickey), the wife of Thump Milton, one of the local bosses. The performance by Dickey conveys an overbearing sense of intimidation that is both real and frightening. As Ree navigates through this hostile environment, we grow to admire her determination and her willingness to confront danger in order to protect her siblings. Winter's Bone is a film about poverty and desperation but it never exploits its characters or engages in manipulation or sentimentality. Though it can be hard to watch at times, it is not as some critics have said "poverty porn." There are lighter moments as well that include authentic Ozark folk music sung by Marideth Sisco and scenes of Ree teaching her brother and sister to spell, count, and perhaps more important for survival, how to shoot a rifle. She also tells her younger brother about the culture in which they live saying "Never ask for what ought to be offered."

Though I was riveted by the unfolding story, perhaps because of the film's high degree of stylization, I stopped short of full emotional involvement and was often conscious of the fact that I was watching a movie. Yet The Winter's Bone is a rich, satisfying film that more than deserves the accolades it has been receiving. Though it is stylized, it has an authenticity derived from using local residents as actors and from the director having immersed herself in the culture for two years before shooting the film. Jennifer Lawrence conveys a stoic and hard-edged individual, yet one with integrity who has somehow avoided getting sucked into the soul destructive way of life that seems to be endemic to the area. In Ree, Granik has created one of the strongest female characters in cinema in memory, one who, by her sheer will, suggests what could be accomplished if all of us could live each day as if our life depended on it.
There'd better be some Oscar nominations coming for this little gem.8/10
"But I can't forever carry them kids and my mom, not without that house."

Winter's Bone is a stark, almost documentary-like movie about a poor teenage girl named Ree in the Ozarks who supports her near-catatonic mother and two younger siblings during her meth-cooking father's many brushes with the law. When he disappears before a court date and the family's home is at risk if he doesn't show up, Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) investigates amongst the locals to find out where he might be. But, some people don't like the questions she's asking, and her life may be at risk, along with her family home. 

The plain, unobtrusive way that the camera observes events really helped draw me into the movie, to the point where I honestly forgot that I was watching a movie, at all. This effect was heightened by some excellent performances; especially from Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes (Teardrop). Lawrence had a star-making (and award worthy) performance, in my opinion. Ree is probably my favorite movie character of the year (well, perhaps next to Hit Girl), and Lawrence plays her with a realism and stubborn toughness that makes you believe that this seventeen year-old girl wouldn't wilt under the kind of circumstances that would overwhelm most adults. Her love for her family seems completely genuine, and there's never a word or a glance where she seems like she's "acting".  It's all very natural, and I was beyond impressed.

The plot was quite tense and engrossing, as Ree pursues the mystery of where her father is with a dogged intensity, despite the fact that it leads her into some very dangerous (and violent) situations. The sparse, beautiful winter settings are a perfect backdrop for the story. It's been a while since I've seen a movie that does as good a job as this one in communicating a sense of place.

Winter's Bone may not be for everyone, though. There are no shoot-outs or florid romantic scenes. The moments of happiness are small, fleeting, and poignant; like a gift of generosity from a neighbor who knows you're in need, or the quiet assurances of an older sister to her younger siblings. In Winter's Bone, our world is never in danger...but one family's certainly is. I liked it the movie the first time around, liked it even more the second, and heartily recommend it, if you're interested.
Oscar material10/10
This is an excellent film, the casting was perfect and, filmed on location in the Ozarks, it's depiction of poor rural mountain life in the South was thoroughly authentic. In another generation, it was moonshine that put these people on the wrong side of the law. Today, it's methamphetamine and OxyContin. As the plot moves forward through this drug subculture, the pride, family loyalty, code of honor and toughness of the people are revealed. Three performances stand out. Jennifer Lawrence never hits a false note as Ree Dolly, the 17 year-old protagonist who takes care of her little brother and sister and her mentally disabled mother. She learns that her father, who cooks methamphetamine, had been arrested and put up their house and land for bail bond. If he doesn't show up for court, they will lose their house, and she must find him. John Hawkes, cast as her uncle, Teardrop, quietly develops his character from someone who is initially menacing and untrustworthy into a man you can faintly admire. And Dale Dickey, as Merab, manages to convey a woman who is tough, mean, capable of violence, yet also honest and reluctantly sympathetic to Ree.