Winters Bone 2010 Movie Scene Jennifer Lawrence as Ree in front of her house in Ozark mountains

Winter’s Bone [2010]

Even the title of this movie sounds depressing as fuck. And the plot isn’t much different. It follows a seventeen-year-old girl living in the rural part of Missouri where drugs and crime are rampant. With her meth-cooking father missing and her mother barely able to move or speak, young Ree takes care of her siblings and the house. However, recent events will put the whole family in a lot of trouble and Ree will have to come up with a solution fast. Despite the slower pacing and grim atmosphere, Winter’s Bone is a gripping tale of perseverance that’s going to fully capture your attention. This is an immersive and escapist experience that’s going to make you feel lucky you’re living the life you’re living. 

Mostly because you’ll see that things could be worse, much, much worse. I just love movies like this. Realistic and not nearly as melodramatic as you would expect them to be, they transport you to this different world we seldom see. It’s funny to think that the whole story is taking place in the Ozark mountains, just like in the popular television show Ozark. This is not one of those pretentious indie dramedies but an authentic snapshot of life in the rural United States. As such it enables you to escape the reality of your life for ninety minutes. Moreover, it enables you to see how other people are living their lives. 

To see what are their hopes and dreams and just how much effort it takes to simply stay alive. At certain moments, the movie feels like a documentary. Debra Granik lets scenes breathe and simmer, further pulling you into the story. And the setting, we shouldn’t forget about that memorable and quite depressing setting. Even the trees, forests, and houses look depressing here. Depressing but resilient just like the people who live here. You have to be in the right mood for a movie like this. A movie without shootouts and chase scenes that’s still going to get you but in a different way. Last couple of weeks I was craving something grim, realistic, and snowy and I remembered Winter’s Bone.

To be perfectly honest I was kind of expecting something along the lines of Hunter Hunter. Or, better yet, Wind River starring Elizabeth Olsen. Speaking of lead actresses, one of the main ones I didn’t want to watch this movie was Jennifer Lawrence. Again, there are so many of these pompous indie dramas that I thought Winter’s Bone was one of them. Jennifer gave one hell of a performance here along with John Hawkes. He’s one of those low-key actors who are always on point. Just check him out in Small Town Crime or Too Late. Both of them were given a stellar script based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Daniel Woodrell. 

The best thing about this movie is its unpredictability. And yet, when things happen they feel entirely logical and actually unavoidable. At first, we’re fed these small chunks of information that make us form our own theories about what’s happened. And what’s going to happen? As the story progresses we learn more and more not just about the characters but also about the unwritten rules of such an environment. Everything here is matter-of-factly, without emotional manipulation or efforts to tell a certain kind of story. The thing I kept thinking about was something that was constantly in the background, the failure of our society to help these people. 

And it wouldn’t take much to help them, especially when you see the numbers in the tech industry these days. Additionally, I’m not even going to even mention the military-industrial complex. Gosh darn it, I guess I did mention it but I assure you I didn’t want to. Without jobs, infrastructure, a future, and pretty much everything a human being needs to thrive, it’s no wonder that most people turn to drugs and alcohol. Behind these conditions are people shaped by them. So, you can also look at Winter’s Bone as a character study. 

Director: Debra Granik

Writers: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Daniel Woodrell

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt, Isaiah Stone, Ashlee Thompson, Lauren Sweetser

Fun Facts: Jennifer Lawrence almost didn’t get the lead role because the producers thought that she was too pretty. This is why she showed up at the audition with a dirty hair, shabby clothes and a runny nose and got the role of Ree,


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