WINTER'S BONE Review

In what has been a highly praised film this year, I rented 'Winter's Bone' to see what all the fuss was about. Not knowing much of the plot except for that it was based in the Ozarks made for an interesting watch as I waited for the story to unfold without having any prior notions of where it may go. With a strong, desperate and dedicated performance by Jennifer Lawrence this film takes a deep look into poverty in the south and the odd social landscape that these living situations and state of minds entail. The movie focuses around Lawrence's character Ree who, is left to look after her two younger siblings after her mother is deemed "sick" and her father never seemed to be around much or good for anything Ree's entire life. The sad part of this is exemplified early in the film as Ree takes her brother and sister to school. She is only seventeen and is unable to act as a regular teenager because of her home life. It is clear she yearns for some type of normalcy, but the fact she does what she has to and doesn't moan about it once gives strong indications as to the kind of person she is. This, to me, shows the strongest aspect of the script. The character development is to be admired, even in the supporting role of Ree's uncle, John Hawkes makes Teardrop a man we are unsure of, who speaks lines like "I already said no with my mouth" that will send chills up your spine. Over the course of the film the tone switches from tales from the southern ghetto to a dark shaded mystery of what exactly is going on concerning Ree's absentee father. Using the house and land Ree supports her family with as his bond puts the family in a situation of getting daddy to show up for court so the law doesn't take it from them. Problem is, daddy is nowhere to be found and no one wants to talk about him. This sends Ree on one of the more ugly goose chases you might have seen lately. Including the ugly sides of people just trying to scrape by and those doing what they can to help out friends and blood relations. The film encompasses a small community of nasty women and shady men, all surrounded by naked trees and signs of time passed. The environment is just a nasty character as the people around Ree, and plays a crucial role in the small but extremely rough and brutal climax of the film. Finally, as the film is quite moving and presents a world not too many are familiar with outside those who live in it, but it never makes for a grand drama or a film you might go on about for days after you see it. It is less of a story and more like a poem, a stark and sadly moving poem.