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Winter's Bone (2010)

A movie directed by Debra Granik

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Winter's Bore

  • Feb 8, 2011
  • by
Rating:
-1
This movie was recommended by a friend of mine.  She told me, not long after watching this movie that I needed to see it so she could have my take on it.  I must confess it took me a while to finally see it.  Notwithstanding, I finally rented the movie and this is review is an ode to her…
 
The plot of this film is rather simple, yet compelling, Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is a 17 year old girl who lives with her younger brother and sister and her catatonic mother.  Her father is supposed to be at trial in a week and since he has bonded the home for his release from jail, it is imperative he appears.  In contrast, Jessup (the father) hasn’t been seen in quite some time.  So now it is up to Ree to find her father in order to save her family’s home.  Under the assumption that this scenario isn’t interesting enough, Jessup is known for being a “cooker” which is a code word for an alchemist in making methamphetamines.
 
This leads Ree on a rather interesting odyssey through the rural, poverty stricken Ozarks.  During this misadventure “we the viewers” meet many characters along the way.  Ree is able to form a bittersweet bond with her estranged uncle, her father’s brother, who goes by the name Teardrop.  This title is manly due to the fact he has a tattoo under his eye.  I am going to end plot description and details here, for a person who wants to know more, stop reading my review and watch the movie. 
 
I believe I missed the boat on this motion picture.  I found it to be almost painful to watch. The film was unbelievably slow, watching Ree walk around and keeps asking people where her father was became very old, very fast.  The first forty minutes or so that is all that happened.  The characters were flat and numb.  I realize that is the filmmakers’ intention to exploit, in a manner of speaking, the culture of people living in this part of America.  The methamphetamine angle was really nothing more than a red herring, which is too bad because this area would have been a nice place to explore.
 
“Winter’s Bone” is labeled and promoted as “thriller”.  I would go out on a limb and depict it as an edgy drama at best; there isn’t anything thrilling about this movie.  I don’t need non-stop action, most of the films I like need time to brew, and this film left me with a flat feeling.  In contrast, I need to give credit to the acting.  Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing job.  She is nominated for an Oscar, as is John Hawkes who plays Teardrop.  This leaves me feeling a bit ambivalent, while I didn’t really care about any of the characters in the movie; I felt the performances were gritty and realistic. Another positive was some of the principal photography, establishing shots and landscapes of the Ozarks were captured with a haunting beauty.
 
Despite of nice cinematography and good acting, I found this movie to be a let down.  The pace was too languid, the sequences of events was also very tedious, which left me hoping the movie would just end. I reached a point where I honestly didn’t care if the story was resolved.  Nevertheless, my opinion appears to be in the minority since this movie has been nominated for an Academy Award and has received a great deal of critical praise.  I am scratching my head, but this is coming from the same guy who is still bemused that Judi Dench won an Oscar for an “Shakespeare in Love”when she was only on the screen for five minutes.

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May 19, 2011
I love the title of your review LOL Nice one and it sounds as though I'm not missing much; I don't wanna feel empty after watching a movie!! Thanks for sharing your great review.
 
March 28, 2011
I actually enjoyed this one but it was a little slow, great review.
 
1
More Winter's Bone (2010 movie) reviews
review by . November 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
An Unflinching Drama About a Girl Who Seeks Out Her Missing Deadbeat Father...
I am not exactly sure how I am going to begin a review on director Deborah Granik’s “Winter’s Bone”. The film is so undeniably simple at first impression, doubtless those folks who have seen a good number of genre films and independent movies have come across movies with strong similarities. Yet, I find this film quite compelling and effective with how it develops its story. Depressing films have the strong potential to be brilliant no matter how simple its premise is; and …
review by . January 01, 2011
A few years ago, I read Daniel Woodrell's WINTER'S BONE and found much to admire. Set in the most destitute portions of our nation, the Ozark country of southern Missouri...it told the story of young Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old girl and her desperate efforts to find her missing father and bring him to court before his bail is revoked. Because the bail her dad put up was the deed to the Dolly house and land. This would have left Ree and her two young siblings and her mentally ill mother homeless.    &nbs …
review by . June 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Bare Bones
WINTER’S BONE Written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini Directed by Debra Granik Starring Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes      Ree Dolly: Never ask for ought to be offered.    WINTER’S BONE tells you immediately what tone to expect for the duration of your journey.  Two young children bounce up and down on a trampoline that sits outside a dilapidated wood cottage that is surrounded by discarded playthings and car parts.  A folk waltz about …
review by . August 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Ree has enough to deal with, even before she finds out her house is due to be taken away. She's just seventeen, and stuck running the household, with two younger siblings to feed and a catatonic mother to care for. She does a good job, given meager resources - but her father's been away a long time, out on bail for cooking crystal meth, and he put up the house and the land as collateral. The only thing for it is to find him, and nobody wants to help, and she comes to see that knowing can …
review by . September 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"Winter's Bone," adapted from the novel by Daniel Woodrell, is a stark, raw, and gritty masterpiece of storytelling, a thoroughly absorbing detective story that goes above and beyond the reliable conventions of mystery solving. It's a quiet, harsh, and unflinching societal drama set deep within the Ozarks, a world of cold forest lands, small houses that look slopped together from spare parts, cars perpetually hoisted on cinderblocks, and distrustful mountainfolk who all seem to …
review by . December 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Engrossing and scary
Deep in the backwoods of Missouri, 17-year old Ree Dolly has a hard life; she's raising her siblings, caring for her mentally-ill mother, and running the house all by herself. Her father, a meth cooker, has jumped bail and the family will lose their home if he can't be brought in to the law so Ree must go to all of her kinfolk for help, even though she knows their code of silence is enforced by beatings - and worse.      This low-budget film is excellent, reminiscent …
Quick Tip by . November 16, 2010
Talk about dreary! Basically what we have here is a brilliantly acted, well-directed film with an insightful screenplay. The story, which takes place in a sort of white trash paradise, is full of quiet moments of reflection and desperation. If you want a feel good film, look elsewhere. This one is for the Gloom Patrol. I liked it.
review by . December 31, 2010
Ree is a 17-year-old girl who lives with her mother and two younger siblings in Missouri hillbilly country. For some reason -- if it was explained, I missed it -- her mother is almost comatose so Ree is in charge of cooking and cleaning and caring for her 12-year-old brother, Sonny, and her 6-year-old sister, Ashlee. Ree doesn't go to school -- I suppose it's possible that she's already graduated -- and she'd like to join the military, but her family obligations make this impossible.   …
Quick Tip by . August 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Winter's Bone might be the best movie I've seen this year, or even last year. There's not a false note in acting, directing, design, photography - just not a false note, period. It's America as the third world - lest we forget every Shining City on the Hill has it's shanty towns - but it doesn't romanticize the hard-scrabble lives these characters live. It's also America as the Dark Ages with warlords, forest families, and mayhem. And, it's the back country mafia hard at work cooking and selling …
About the reviewer
Joshua E Hoppock ()
Ranked #101
It is rather brisk in this field. The leaves are descending like a tapestry of aloof dreams. The wind entices these leaves into a plume of whimsical billowing ontological paradox. Then I recall that I … more
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Wiki

Family loyalty and self-reliance take on whole new meanings in this dark story of one family's desperate struggle to survive in the Ozark woods of southern Missouri. Day-to-day life is tough in the economically depressed, unforgiving harsh rural landscape that's home to the extended Dolly clan, but it's made much tougher thanks to their history of cooking crank and deep involvement in the local drug culture. For Jessup Dolly and the other men of the family, looking out for oneself has become the first priority. Seventeen-year-old Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) has been caring for her mentally ill mother and her two younger siblings while her father runs from the law. Ree has been managing OK, but when the sheriff shows up with news that her father has put the house up as bond collateral and is unlikely to show for his court date, things get desperate. Ree is well aware of the family code of silence, but desperation forces her to confront her relatives in search of her father, regardless of the personal consequences. One by one, Ree's relatives refuse to help, protecting themselves even at the cost of one of their own. This is a dark, often violent film that doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of the manic drug culture permeating some rural areas of the South. It is intense, emotional, and extremely effective: it is at times simultaneously uncomfortable to watch and paradoxically riveting. Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, and Dale Dickey deliver phenomenally ...
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Details

Director: Debra Granik
Genre: Drama
Release Date: June 11, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Lionsgate
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Best Picture Nominees 2011

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"The Bare Bones"
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