Winter's Bone (2010)
Critic Consensus: Bleak, haunting, and yet still somehow hopeful, Winter's Bone is writer-director Debra Granik's best work yet -- and it boasts an incredible, starmaking performance from Jennifer Lawrence.
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as Little Arthur
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Critic Reviews for Winter's Bone
Debra Granik's bleak little film is as tough, unflinching and fascinating as the characters who eke out a life amid its cold, gray hills.
A rewarding, richly detailed exploration of the strength of character required when confronted by ugly truths.
The Coen Brothers' O Brother Where Art Thou? was the last film to make such delirious use of mountain music. The rest of the world can start drooling over Lawrence. I'm gonna git me a copy of that soundtrack.
The film, adapted by director Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini from the novel by Daniel Woodrell, establishes a formidable tension between mystery and matter-of-factness.
There is poetry here -- as artists as diverse as Walker Evans, James Agee and Harry Smith have found -- of the rawest, most desperate kind.
Audience Reviews for Winter's Bone
With an excellent performance by Jennifer Lawrence, this is a haunting and extremely distressing drama whose downbeat atmosphere feels always suffocating and real as it drags us into this bleak universe filled with dreadful people living in so much misery and poverty.
Bleak and disenchanting look at the dark side of the American country side. Carried by great acting performances and the fascinatingly gloomy criminal networks of Ozark County the film manages to engage the audience, even if it primarily consists of Jennifer Lawrence walking through the woods and talking to hostile hillbilly hicks. Surprisingly, that works because we very soon start to care about Ree.
What makes "Winter's Bone" eerily unique in the indie realm is its depiction of people made disadvantaged in life, and yet they live by a system of honorable codes. Our main character Ree (Lawrence) takes care of her mother and two younger siblings, and has to deal with the disappearance of her crack cooking father. She has to try and keep their house from being taken away by finding him, but is met with controversy. Ree is a strong character who is mature beyond her years, because she has to be to survive the harsh backwoods' conditions. Most of the film serves as a portrayal of the silence that's instilled in this community who deal primarily in drugs and other illegal activities. Ree is often threatened with severe punishment if she doesn't halt her questioning, though she is only seventeen and is serving a noble purpose. Nobody, especially a teenager, should have to grow up so fast, but it seems that everyone is older than they appear: teenagers are married with children, or serve as the gatekeepers in their households, though many aren't even old enough to vote. The only issue I really have with this film is that there aren't that many hurdles for Ree to get over. The only time she's really met with controversy is when she's attacked, otherwise many of the conflicts associated with the plot are wrapped up by the end, which just feels too easy.
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