2010 Oscars Best Picture Nominee: Winter’s Bone

A girl in the Ozarks attempts to find her father dead or alive, even if it means risking her life. This doesn’t make for the most attention-getting of movies but this is the story in Winter’s Bone. The movie itself is a mystery bound to keep you intrigued.

It all starts when a teenage girl names Ree is told by the police that her father posted the house as bail for a drug trial and unless he shows, the family will lose it all and be split up. This is hard to do for Ree in their poor settings as she not only has to tend to her mentally ill mother but be the parent figure for her younger brother and sister. She knows her father’s in the drug trade and has been gone for a year but is determined to find him. Attempting to find him puts her own life in danger as she tries to search for him in a house that burned down from a meth explosion and faces death threats from villagers and even distant family members. Her father’s brother tells her he may be dead but she continues on. She finally gets the answer she’s after through bizarre circumstances in the end.

The biggest theme of the movie is about Ozark life and about keeping secrets. Through watching the film, you learn of the difficulties growing up in the Ozark and that the villagers have secrets to hide. The teen parents whom Ree is friends with shows how growing up in the Ozarks stars early.  Over time you witness what Hillbilly life or Ozark life is like and you’d see why Ree would best serve the role as parent for her siblings. The film is an adaptation of a 2006 novel and director/writer Debra Granik did an excellent job of showing the story and portraying Ozark life’s significance to the plot. Even the addition of Ozark country music added to the atmosphere of the story. Young Jennifer Lawrence was excellent in portraying Ree in her grittiness and inner strength. Those that saw the movie would know that her role was very physically demanding. John Hawkes was also excellent as the brother with secrets to hide, despite how much they haunt him.

This film was a hit at the 2010 Sundance and did moderately successful as an indie hit film. If you have the chance, I recommend you rent the DVD of Winter’s Bone. It’s a thriller for all its mystery and bizarreness is worth it.


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