Comment permalink

Winter's Bone

Country Noir

“Winter's Bone” is an almost flawless movie, and when I say “almost” I'm just being cautious- I can't think of a single thing wrong with it. If you look it up on Netflix, you'll note only two reasons given for any of the negative reviews. Either the reviewer has a short attention span and hates any movie relying more on plot and dialogue than explosions and gunfights, or the reviewer is a spiteful classist who just plain hates rural poor people and any movie about their lives. As these are not valid reasons for disliking a movie, you can disregard the bad reviews completely and trust the good ones, because they've got it right.

“Winter's Bone” is about a seventeen-year-old girl from the Ozarks named Ree Dolly. She's responsible for both of her siblings because her mother is catatonic and her father is missing. He's wanted for skipping bail, and she's about to lose her house, so she has to find him no matter what it takes. The movie is a neo-noir crime mystery in which she has to go into her father's world of rural gangsterism in order to find out where he is.


In her corner of the Ozarks, the big crime is meth trafficking and the clan in control of it is the Milton family, cousins of her own Dolly family. She tries to appeal to their sense of kinship, but without much luck. Then she decides to pressure them. Then things start to get really dangerous.


Ree Dolly is a true hero, a young woman with unshakeable determination and courage in the face of both her outlaw relatives and the law itself. She has to walk a very fine line in order to survive- not getting sucked into the world of drugs and crime, and not becoming a snitch. All of the performances in this movie are excellent, but Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Ree Dolly is particularly impressive.