Winter's Bone is the story of 17-year-old Ree Dolly, played by the 19-year-old Jennifer Lawrence. Abandoned by her father physically and by her mother mentally, Ree is raising her younger siblings on her own in the hard-scrabble Missouri backwoods. When her convict father goes missing and puts their house up for bond, she has to track him down through the terrifying, meth-infested veins of her own distant relatives in order to keep the shreds of her family together. It's film noir, Deliverance-style.
The people she encounters are more terrifying than any creepy-crawly movie monster that I've ever seen, all the more so because of their basis in reality. John Hawkes from Deadwood is particularly effective as Teardrop, Ree's uncle who's a violent wife-abuser and a crank dealer but is also the only person willing to help her. When you first meet him he scares you shitless; but as Ree digs deeper in her search, she overturns so many scarier people--like her great-aunt Merab, played by the pinch-mouthed Dale Dickey--that when Teardrop appears again at a crucial moment and "stands" for Ree, you want to hug the bastard.
Don't wait to see this film. Get it now in theaters, then again on DVD. It's amazing.
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