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One Movie Punch

Feb 9, 2018

Today’s movie is “Winter’s Bone” (2010), the Oscar-nominated family drama based on Daniel Woodrell’s novel, directed by Debra Granik and developed for the screen in collaboration with Anne Rosellini. The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor.

The film follows Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), a seventeen year old daughter taking care of her sick mother and her two younger siblings after her father is arrested for cooking crank. Her father, Jessup, was released on bail after signing away the family property, but has been missing, presumed dead. Ree and her Uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes) must find her father, or his remains, in order to prevent their family from being evicted.

Jennifer Lawrence is INCREDIBLE in her breakout role, earning a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Ree feels so real, both separate from and a part of her environment. John Hawkes turns in an amazing supporting role as Teardrop, leaving a lasting impression. Their relationship on screen is subtle, yet deep, more raw emotion than expression. The rest of the cast also turn in above average performance, each representing a new challenge for Ree to face and face again.

I’ve thought a lot about where “Winter’s Bone” fits into entertainment history. I can only imagine that the success of “Breaking Bad” and “Sons of Anarchy” helped to turn a meaningful story about crank dealers in the Ozarks into a feature-length film. I also kind of think that the success of “Winter’s Bone” made the idea of last year’s “Ozark” a possibility. Not just for the inclusion of hard drugs, but stories about rural, white criminal enterprises in various forms.

“Winter’s Bone” (2010) is an amazing film, playing on themes of family and poverty and community and criminal enterprises, with bleak but beautiful settings and consistent art direction. It doesn’t pull punches and goes to some very morbid places, but delivers a great story with a wonderful cast. If you can handle some brutal moments for the sake of an incredible film, then you won’t be disappointed.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (CERTIFIED)

Metacritic: 90

One Movie Punch: 8.8/10

“Winter’s Bone” is rated R and is streaming on Hulu.