In this age where protagonists in movies are usually invincible, and can’t do no wrong, it is infinitely pleasing to see one that features an ordinary protagonist. One that had no superpowers, one who bled when took a beating and had to spent the rest of the night and the next day to nurse the wounds, one that was ‘normal,’ just like you and me. “Winter’s Bone” is a chilling film and the fact that the heroine in this film is quite ordinary, just like one I had described above and driven forward only by necessity, courage and resilience made this film a powerful one although not necessarily a pleasantry to enjoy. However, if you’re a young woman, or anyone for that matter, who look for an inspiration, I believe that you should give this film’s 100 minutes a spare of your time and maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place.
Ree Dolly, at seventeen years old, is a both father and mother for her younger brother and sister and also a caretaker for her nearly mentally disabled mother. She makes do with little, and her only existence is for others, to provide food at the table and to take care of her family. Her happiness? It was suggested that she has long given up for it. Her father was a meth cooker and he is wanted by the sheriff. One day, a sheriff knocked her house and tell her that her house was put on bond by her father that should her father neglected to arrive at the trial by the week, she and the rest of her family would be thrown out of the house. Knowing that she has nowhere to go, that the thin thread that kept her family together would snap should the house gone, she went to look for her father and put her on life in danger on the process.
The setting of this film is harsh. Quite probably undesirable place to live, very backward in time when technologies weren’t as abundant as now, and seems to be in perpetual chill. The atmosphere was necessary and it accentuated the strength in the role imposed by Jennifer Lawrence as the center of this tale. She was amazing, and dare I say, uncomfortably comfortable in the shoe of Ree Dolly. On the outside, Ree was strong and resilient, but we should see that beneath the surface there’s a terrified, confused, and desperate young teenager whose love to her family beats even her fear to face the un-surmounted perils she had to face as she inquire about her father’s whereabouts. There’s a scene where she finally lets her inner turmoil shown and my, it’s so heartbreaking I almost unable to watch. She, Jennifer Lawrence, was that good. Makes me wonder why she doesn’t get much exposure prior to this.
*picture is from punchdrunkcritics.com
Overall, the film might not be an easy watch and it requires a good mood to sit through uninterrupted because that is how the film should be enjoyed. Not merely as a passing activity but should be more like a study. Only then would I think you’d be able to appreciate this Drama as much as it should be. I mean, if you can’t love Ree, or at least rooting for her and took some values from her love and determination, then maybe, this world would never be a better place.
My rating: *** / **** – Amazing performance from Jennifer Lawrence. I oft complained about the lack of prominent female characters in a film. This is how I meant with prominent female character. Unflinching, resilient, loving, and determined. If I could have any say, I’ll vote for Jennifer Lawrence on Golden Globe and Academy Awards.