Winter's Bone is this year's most critically reviewed independent film and hails Jennifer Lawrence, the film's young star as one of the actors to watch for. And it's easy to see why. Jennifer's performance holds the whole film together and one has to watch her face closely as the emotions threaten to take over.
Lawrence plays Ree Dolly, a 17 year-old with lots of responsibility bearing down on her. She has to take care of a sick mother and younger siblings as well run the house and the land. The Dollys live out in the Missouri Ozarks where the land is as bleak as their lives. One day, the sheriff turns up at their house letting Ree know that her father has jumped bail and can't be found. Well, says Ree, she'll find him. Therein begins Ree's journey and as yet another problem starts looming over her. Her father has put up their house and land against the bail money and if he doesn't show up at the next court date, Ree and her family will have no place to call home. Her desperate struggle to find out where father is takes her across all kinds of associates of her dad's and up against some scary family members. Her uncle Teardrop eventually comes around to offer some kind of support but in the end, it's always Ree who has to take care of things.
Debra Granik has directed a very straightforward film with a very strong heroine at the helm. It's her sheer will that forces her to survive and to make sure her family doesn't split up. Jennifer Lawrence has given a fine performance and the real reason why you can't look away for the story unfolding on the screen. Some of the scenes are quite dark in nature and a lot of for a 17-year-old to handle but Jennifer as Ree takes it all unflinchingly because she got nowhere else to go. This is a very good, well-directed film that deserves all the accolades it's getting.
Directed by Debra Granik; Screenplay by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini (Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell); Music by Dickon Hinchliffe; Cinematography by Michael McDonough; Editing by Affonso Goncalves
Also in the cast: John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Shelley Waggener; Lauren Sweetser