…feel the chill

“Winter’s Bone” is arguably (although it wouldn’t be a very strong argument) the least known film in the Best Picture category this year.

That’s a pity.  This rustic, gritty thriller, is bare bones at its best.

Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, directed by Debra Granik and co-written by Granik and Anne Rosselini, “Winter’s Bone” is a modern American tale, in a part of our country that many have forgotten.

Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is a 17-year-old living in rural Missouri, more specifically the Ozarks.  Ree sees the world for what it is, yet expects it to be what it should.  Fair.

Her and her family live a life of limited means.  Mom is basically catatonic and Ree is left to look after her younger brother Sonny (Isaiah Stone) and sister Ashlee (Ashlee Thompson) as well as their mother.

Their absent father Jessup who was arrested for cooking meth soon becomes a hindrance on their already strained financial situation, when Ree learns he put up their house and property as bond.

Desperate to make sure he shows up for his court date Ree sets out to find him and plead with him.

Ree’s unwavering belief that loyalty and family should win out, does not win her many friends amongst her fathers associates.

Despite the lack of support, it doesn’t take her long to discover, he’s most likely dead.  Unfortunately with no way to prove it, the law still comes for her land.

With a fast approaching eviction Ree has no choice but to continue her search.  With the help (or hindrance) of her father’s brother, Teardrop (John Hawkes),  she soon gets dragged (literally at times) into what once was the world of her father.

What lies at the end of her journey is anything but expected and even a bit much for Ree, our unwavering warrior.

Ree’s unbreakable determination is inspiring.  Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is most definitely worthy of her Oscar Nomination.

Although Teardrop is a less than admirable character, John Hawkes gives an unforgettable performance as well.  Teardrop’s constant journey between clarity and drug induced belligerence are terrifying and brilliant.

Filmed on location in Missouri this film has an authenticity that stops just short of being a shaky camera documentary.  The visual journey we go on as we follow Ree in pursuit of her father is breathtaking.

The glimpses of modern Americana in a place that time seems to have forgotten is both heart-warming and unbelievable (in a completely authentic way).

Truth be told it could probably use a hand (or two) getting noticed next to some of the royally franchised heavyweights it’s up against, the heart and courage of this film shines through its leading lady and is worthy of all of the applause.

________________________________________

…bi-daily smile…

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