Movie Review #704
This review is dedicated to my sister and my non-familial sister, with whom I watched Winter’s Bone.
Winter’s Bone Productions
Distrbutor: Roadside Attractions
Spoken Languages: English
Directed by Debra Granik. Produced by Anne Rosellini. Screenplay: Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini. Novel: Daniel Woodrell.
Rated R by the MPAA – infrequent drug material, infrequent profanity, infrequent violence. Runs 1 hour, 40 minutes. Premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2010; at Berlin International Film Festival on February 16, 2010; at South by Southwest Film Festival on March 3, 2010; at AFI Dallas International Film Festival on April 13, 2010; at Kansas City Film Festival on April 14, 2010; at Sarasota Film Festival on April 15, 2010; at Boston Independent Film Festival and Palm Beach International Film Festival on April 23, 2010; at San Francisco International Film Festival on April 30, 2010; at Rochester Film Festival on May 8, 2010; at Seattle International Film Festival on May 28, 2010; at Edinburg International Film Festival and Nantucket Film Festival in June 2010; and at Little Rock Film Festival on June 2, 2010. Limited release in the USA on June 11, 2010.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Isaiah Stone, Ashlee Thompson, Valerie Richards, Shelley Waggener, Garret Dillahunt, William White, Ramona Blair, and Lauren Sweetser. Also starring Andrew Burnley, Phillip Burnley, Isaac Skidmore, Cody Brown, Cinnamon Schultz, John Hawkes, Casey MacLaren, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey, Sheryl Lee, Tate Taylor, Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, Beth Domann, Charlotte Jeane Lucas, Ray Vaughan Jr., and Sgt. Russel A. Schalk. Featuring an uncredited cameo appearance by Brandon Gray as Spider Milton.
“Winter’s Bone” is the haunting and resonating story of a seventeen-year-old’s involvement quest to find her father, whose involvement in methamphetamine production could lose them their house. He had left at a most inopportune time, leaving this oldest daughter of his, named Ree, to tend for her depressed mother and her two much-younger siblings. She’s putting herself in danger in order to find her father, but if his co-workers in the drug business are the only ones who could possibly point him out for her, then so be it.
“Winter’s Bone” is set along hiking terrain, but it’s best to just go with saying that it’s a “country noir.” Such is name for a genre author Daniel Woodrell coined in the mid-1990s and has been writing ever since. This is an interesting adaptation of Woodrell’s novel of the same name. It moves slowly but engages thoroughly.
The lead role of Ree is played by Jennifer Lawrence. No doubt she’d love to know that even in this earlier work of hers, it’s easy to foresee this generation’s Meryl Streep in her performance. Her transformation is very, very effective.
This was Lawrence’s first breakthrough in a starring role, following her recognition for a minor role in “The Burning Plain”. The movie seems to function on relative unknowns. John Hawkes proceeded to star in “The Sessions” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene”, but there’s no calling him a household name. Garret Dillahunt has the main role on Raising Hope. Dale Dickey will take a minor role on TV, now and then. Then you get to the out of the main cast, where named like Lauren Sweetser or Shelley Waggener don’t ring the slightest bell. The selective casting (on a $2 million budget) is commendable. These people can act. They show the struggles with such emotion, and maybe it’s better that we don’t know who they are. It’s difficult to imagine the same movie working with a cast of Brad Pitts and Sandra Bullocks.
“Winter’s Bone” is a deep, dark journey. I don’t mean to make is sound cliché, but it really is a solemn disclosure of hope and despair. I’d slap the word “adventure” onto this one if I could. The landscape is beautifully filmed, and god, what distances Ree travels. It’s just too somber to label as “adventure.”
WINTER’S BONE IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY AND DVD.