Review: Winter’s Bone (2010)

Winter’s Bone is a vivid adaptation Daniel Woodrell’s crime novel set in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Missouri.

17 year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is responsible for keeping her family together in a dirt poor rural area. When the local Sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) tells her that her father put up their house as collateral for his bail, Ree sets off to find her errant father, digging up some very dangerous secrets in the process.

Debra Granik brings this bleak environment to life through her flawless attention-to-detail, her keen eye capturing the landscape’s undertones beautifully. Granik tells the story as naturalistic drama, punctuating thrills throughout to keep them authentic and unexpected.

The most obvious example of this is through the character of Teardrop, Ree’s uncle, whom she asks for help. John Hawkes’ performance as Teardrop is haunting, verging on sadistic as it’s never made clear to Ree, or to the audience, whether he will help Ree, assault her, or kill her.

Lawrence’s performance as Ree is a truly stand-out piece of acting, transposing her apparent emotional intelligence and warmth with the incredible pressure she’s under to keep her family alive.

Winter’s Bone is a realistic, engaging and fearless film about transgression and the consequences of digging into the past, showcasing a truly magnificent, afflicting performance from Jennifer Lawrence.