Sunday, April 17, 2011

FTT Movie Review: Winter's Bone

"Bone" is one of those movies that hit my queue in an attempt to see more of the Oscar-nominated roles, and I'm glad it did. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Ree Dolly, the 17-year-old eldest daughter in a troubled and impoverished Missouri family. Her absent father has gotten involved in cooking up meth, and her mother is a mute shut-in, leaving Ree to do all of the heavy lifting for her 12-year-old brother and 6-year-old sister. When her dad puts the equity for the family's house and property up against a bond for his arrest, then goes missing, Ree has to track him down to make sure that he gets to the courthouse, rather than put the family out on their own in the harsh winter.

The film takes on something of the air of a mystery, but with none of the surface unreality of your average sleuth film. Ree's got resolve and grit, but little else, and doesn't really have the means to do anything other than prod at her father's network to see if anyone will admit to seeing him. All the while she's got to dodge any sense of compliance with the law, since the community has got the hardcore hatred of an underclass that sees the sheriff as less honorable than the criminals. There are few good choices, and with the girl right on the cusp of womanhood, you feel -- and fear -- for her at every step of the way.

Needless to say. Lawrence is fantastic, and the supporting cast never feels out of step or off-center; the film really has more of a documentary feel to it, rather than a drama. John Hawkes also stars as her uncle, a man who seems capable of anything at any moment; he's electric while being weary, just because the role is that good. The title also isn't explained for a very long time, but when it is, it hits like a freight train. Ree's choices are impossible, except that they aren't, and that level of pragmatism and steel is the kind of character forged only in need.

So if you are in the mood for a movie that hits and hurts, or just want to see a young actress that will probably get a ton of work in things that aren't as good as this for the next 20 years, dig in. You'll probably never see her in anything this uneasy on the eyes again, though...

1 comment:

Bill said...

I recently watched Winter's Bone too and really enjoyed it. Thought the ending was kind of cool when she got the extra money. Now I just need my wife to go out for the night so I can rent Black Swan!

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