Tuesday, October 26, 2010
WINTER’S BONE / ****
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: June 11, 2010
Running Time: 100 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Having to grow up too early is a fate that no child should have to endure. For 17-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), a childhood is something she never really had the luxury of experiencing. With a physical absentee father and a mental absentee mother, Ree is the primary caregiver to her younger brother and sister living in the Ozark Mountains. The young ones seem relatively happy, and the Dollys don’t have much but they do have their house.
Then one day there’s a knock at the door. The local sheriff informs Ree that her father Jessup, a known crystal meth cooker and dealer, has skipped bail. He had put up the house, which was owned in his name, as collateral, and if he doesn’t show up in a week’s time Ree and her family will lose the house. This is something that the resolute and never wavering Ree finds unacceptable. She vows to find the father she doesn’t know to protect the rest of her family that she does know.
To find her father, Ree needs the help of his brother, her uncle who calls himself Teardrop (the intense and brooding John Hawkes). Believing his brother to be dead, Teardrop initially refuses to help Ree. He has no idea how determined and strong-willed she is.
Ree is afraid of nothing and no one in the pursuit of her father. The crystal meth crowd in the Ozark Mountain region isn’t the friendliest bunch, but Ree does what she has to do no matter how unsavory the characters she comes across may be.
Lawrence’s performance is a revelation. It anchors a film steeped in sadness and anger. Lawrence plays Ree with a steely reserve – there are no movie character speeches or emotional outbursts in Lawrence’s repertoire. With the right kind of campaign, Lawrence could reap some awards attention. It reminds me a bit of Melissa Leo a few years ago with “Frozen River.”
Director Debra Granik, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Anne Rosellini from a novel by Daniel Woodrell captures the look and feeling of isolation and desperation. Shot in muted greys and faded blues by cinematographer Michael McDonough, “Winter’s Bone” seems like a world drained of all color and vibrancy, and it sucks you in with powerful performances and fantastic old fashioned storytelling. This is one of the best films of the year.
Theater: Capri Theater, Montgomery, Alabama
Time: 730 pm
Date: August 18, 2010