Bone Chilling

While it's easy to plop down in the living room recliner for a breezy comedy, I have to be in the proper mood to watch a serious drama. Since my window for dramas is so much slimmer than for comedies, dramas tend to pile up in my queue. So when I found myself in one of those quickly-passing Drama Moods last night, I jumped on it, and settled in for Winter's Bone. This is the movie that made a breakout star of Jennifer Lawrence, and for good reason. She plays Ree, the oldest child of an Ozark family. Ree is forced to run the household and care for her two young siblings, since her mother is nearly catatonic and her father is a habitual meth user/dealer. When said father disappears after posting bond, she is informed that since he put up the homestead to pay for his release, if he doesn't show up for his trial, the family will lose their home.

Thus begins her search through her desolate, depressing, and intimidating surroundings. The other denizens of her world are dangerous people; this is a community where violence is the answer to every problem, drugs and pregnancy are the main ways of passing the time, and women are trained to be either terrified or vicious at the behest of their men. John Hawkes plays Ree's uncle Teardrop, an unlikely ally who vacillates between bursts of violent temper and sense of duty to the family he's distanced himself from.

Needless to say, nobody is anxious to help the daughter of a local meth cooker who is rumored to have informed the police about other drug dealers in the area. Despite the fact that the characters barely raise their voices, there is always a sense of danger and hopelessness simmering under the surface. By the time the movie ends, nobody's situation has changed that drastically, but there is a sense that Ree has been made all the stronger by the events that have transpired. By turns terrifying and hopeful, it's easy to see why this movie got so many accolades. It deserves every one.

Winter's Bone: A-


Niki said...

I guess it goes without saying that the book was much better. Matt and I read it together when I was in NY and he was already back in StL. We chose it based on the locale and the author. I was annoyed by the changes made. Again, obvious. But some of the changes made no sense. Like why change her hair color? And what could possibly be the point of changing one of the siblings to a girl?!

Limecrete said...

You're right, those are odd changes. Were there big plot shifts from book to movie, or just little stuff like that?

Niki said...

I really don't remember. That's horrible. It was a long day and I couldn't sleep so I went to a 1am showing. I was nodding off in parts of it. Those are the two things I remember most about it. ha! You are welcome to borrow the book.

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