Thursday, March 9, 2017

Winter's Bone (2010)

Winter's Bone (2010): adapted by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini from the novel by Daniel Woodrell; directed by Debra Granik; starring Jennifer Lawrence (Ree) and John Hawkes (Teardrop): Set in the dystopic rural backwaters of Missouri, Winter's Bone earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination and announced the arrival of a teen-aged Jennifer Lawrence with a Best Actress nomination for her.

Most of the actors who surround Lawrence are amateurs tapped for their local authenticity. I didn't notice. The acting is fine from everyone, and especially so from Lawrence and John Hawkes. Everything seems authentic, though the movie is a Quest Narrative, about as long-standing a story structure as there is. The plot manages to avoid stereotypes in its depiction of its blighted rural areas and their impoverished residents. 

There's an almost dystopic feel to the movie. One can see how the producers of The Hunger Games franchise, seeing this film, would think to cast Lawrence as the heroine of that series. But her quest here, grounded in horrifying reality, is a far more compelling journey through the night. Highly recommended.

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