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Winter’s Bone (2010)

I spent the weekend not feeling great.  Finally last night I decided to stop by MedExpress to get checked out, and lucky me, I have strep throat.  I stayed home from work today because I feel like garbage, and because I’m still contagious.  I did do some work, but I also rested a lot and watched some movies.

Winter’s Bone is available on Netflix streaming right now.  I had it in my queue because of the Oscar acclaim, but didn’t know much about it.  I actually had it confused with Frozen River.  I thought that Melissa Leo was an Oscar contender due to a performance in Winter’s Bone…but she wasn’t in Winter’s Bone, she got her Oscar attention for her performance in The Fighter.

Jennifer Lawrence plays 17 year old Ree Dolly.  Her mother is catatonic, and her father’s a meth cooker on the lam.  Ree plays mother to her younger brother and sister, struggling to keep them fed and warm in their rural Ozark log cabin.  Ree gets an unexpected visit from the sheriff, who informs her that her dad is up for a hearing next week.  No one expects him to show.  This time, though, he put the family home up as collateral for the bail bond.  If he doesn’t show, the family will be thrown out in the forest.

Determined to save her already starving family from homelessness, Ree decides she will find him.  She ventures into the frightening world of the Missouri meth trade, on a quest to hunt her father down.

Lawrence’s performance is perfect.  She is devoted to saving her family, but not sappy.  She is brave and brooding.  She shows her humanity with her tenderness to her friend and her siblings.  It might have been nice to see her crack a smile, but there is nothing in Ree Dolly’s world to smile about.

The family’s poverty is shocking.  At one point, Ree teaches her sister and brother to shoot squirrels for dinner because they have nothing else.  I am sure there are families starving like this in certain parts of America, it’s so heartbreaking I don’t want to think of it.

I admit, I was most interested in Winter’s Bone because Jennifer Lawrence has been cast as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games due to come out next year.   Both films and both characters share many themes–protecting family, survival, poverty and hunger, hopelessness.  Lawrence will be perfect as Katniss.


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