In Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Ree Dolly, a seventeen year old who lives with her near catatonic mother and younger brother and sister. Living in a rural and rugged Midwest mountain town, the family lives hand to mouth as Ree is the primary caretaker of her family. The law visits their home and informs Ree that her career criminal father has skipped bail with the family home as collateral.
Facing no other options, Ree scours the town looking for any sign of her father. She visits her drug addled uncle named Teardrop (John Hawkes) who is clearly unstable and subject to violent mood swings. With little help from Teardrop, she continues visiting other members of the family who become increasingly paranoid and threatening towards Ree with each visit.
It is quickly revealed that her father is a master in meth cooking, and after visiting one of her father’s old flames (played by Sheryl Lee!), Ree deduces that her father has either skipped town or is dead as Dillinger. After being kidnapped and beaten by her aunt and cousins, she is rescued by Teardrop who has had a change of heart and is determined to help Ree find her father.
High on coke and ready to rumble, Teardrop begins terrorizing the rest of the family who are hiding a dark secret. As more secrets about the extended family begin to unravel, Ree finally finds the answers in a horrific and chilling climax.
Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes are both captivating and well deserving of the many accolades bestowed upon them during this highly contested award season. With an exceptionally small cast, the entire ensemble should be commended for delivering raw energy and authenticity to the story.
Painting a vivid picture of rural mountain life, Winter’s Bone is a hauntingly realistic portrayal of meth’s destruction on family and community, all the while telling a heroic tale of Ree’s determination to provide for her defenseless mother and siblings.
Survey says…4 stars out of 5