Cross-posted from imdb pro:
Winter's Bone, which was originally a novel by Daniel Woodrell, made
into a movie by director Debra Granik, is an original, powerful story
of a 17-year old young girl who tries in the face of unbelievable odds
to keep her family together. The movie takes place in the Ozarks in
Missouri, but the life there feels so alien to this viewer that it
might as well be set on Mars.
It has overtones of ancient tribal behavior with its own code of law
and ethics. The fabulous actress who is the prime mover at the center
of the movie is played by Jennifer Lawrence. She is Dee Dolly,
searching for her drug dealing, oft-jailed father whose disappeared,
then revealed to have put up their home for collateral, jeopardizing the family's shelter. Dee cares for her catatonic mother and two young
siblings. They have no money and despite her pride, she accepts
grudging help from neighboring farmers. Dee is the glue of the story
which focuses on her journey of overcoming unfathomable obstacles. No
one, even her close friends, will help her. Her life becomes as alien
as the terrain. Not only do they refuse aid, her pursuit puts her life
in jeopardy. She learns to function even when there is no one she can
The town has lost all industry. The only way to make money is to
manufacture methamphetamine. Dee moves forcefully through the mine
field in order to keep her family together, safe and sheltered.
I feel compelled to repeat it: 17-year-old Jennifer Lawrence is a
revelation, determined and unafraid. You fear for her but she is
Debra Granik's direction, with its ability to reflect the barrenness of
the landscape and to coax powerful performances from her actors, is
praiseworthy. One of the few women directors (at least that I'm aware
of) with a good distribution deal.
The 2011 Spirit Awards are presented on IFC on February 26, the day before the Academy Awards.
*Sorry for choppy copy editing