I've been sitting on this review for some time now because I intended to put it in a collection of smaller reviews, considering that my writeup wasn't long enough for a full post. But you know what? Screw it. The world needs to know. I can't wait anymore.
Director: Debra Granik
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt
Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Man, am I in a small minority here. I really do appreciate Sergio's taste in films for being so different from mine and allowing me to access a genre that I've let fall by the wayside. But this 2010 Jennifer Lawrence vehicle is absolutely impenetrable to me.
Winter's Bone is the story of a young Appalachian woman named Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) who needs to find her criminal father and get him to show up to his court date or else the government is going to seize her house. I know this because the first five scenes involve Ree going to different people's houses and telling them that exact same story.
Winter's Bone is an effective portrayal of a family rent apart by poverty and insanity and a young woman who must age beyond her years to take care of her siblings. I will give it that. But in my opinion Ree lacks any sense of real agency. Yes, she goes around trying dutifully to talk to people who might know where her father is. But for the most part, she has everything handed to her.
Sure, she had to talk to a couple more people extra hard and she got roughed up a little bit for her troubles, but the story resolved essentially without conflict. It's just a charm bracelet of scenes of actors pretending to be rough-and-tumble mountain men. Although J-Law is admittedly great and was fed some of the best lines a story of this type could ever hope to produce.
I hope I can be forgiven for not falling under this film's spell. I understand that my tastes are far different from the norm and I'm really trying to find this film's appeal. Alas, for me it is inaccessible. This is par for the course with Oscar-nominated indie dramas, but I really wish I could find that place in my soul that would allow me to sit through such a serious film with rapt attention.
Rating: 5/10Word Count: 399