Sunday, July 4, 2010

Winter's Bone

imdb link  Photos

Plot: Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is a 17 year-old from an outlaw family in rural America, probably Missouri, and her Dad has skipped bail. The bail bondsman is going to claim the farm, and kick Ree, her two siblings and her mentally-ill Mom on the street. Ree goes in search of her Dad, but instead finds an extended family of strange and scary relatives.

Review: Ree's character is very strong and well-drawn. She is noble in her suffering and tireless in her quest. Her task is so unfair and so hopeless that we are sympathetic with her throughout the movie. All the strengths of this movie come from the Ree Dolly character and its portrayal by Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer's acting is great -- from the first scene she seems like a real girl with a world of burdens on her.

The rest of the movie is not so good. The other kids are just placeholders. Her creepy uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes) is colorful, but not interesting. He just seems scary and unpredictable to me.

The only other excellent character is villainous matriarch Merab, played by Dale Dickey -- she is practical, tough, complicated and squeezed by her obligations to her even tougher husband.

I saw this movie yesterday, and today I like it better. Even though it was bleak and not fun, the Ree character is so memorable. I wondered why her relatives were not more helpful. In my view outlaw families are usually close, and Ree's Dad would have had friends, but the story demanded the Ree be all alone, and so she was.

I find myself wondering what I would have done in her situation. Her heroism makes the movie worth seeing.

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, John Hawkes

Directed by: Debra Granik

Rating: 2.5 flasks

More: The sound effects were disturbingly poor. One should never notice that the sound of the footsteps are wrong.

Even more: Winter's Bone starts off with kids playing with a lullaby in the background. It is bad sign when a film starts with sleepy music.
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