Oscars Alert: Don't Sleep on "Winter's Bone"

107562674 Oscars Alert: Don't Sleep on "Winter's Bone"

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Of all ten Best Picture nominees, none made less money at the box office than Winter’s Bone, which took in only $6.3 million. The next lowest was The Kids Are All Right at $20.6 million. The highest was Toy Story 3, grossing an unbelievable $415 million. Despite this ridiculous disparity in ticket sales, Winter’s Bone is easily good enough to take home the golden statue.

A harrowing thriller from Debra Granik, this minimal film (there’s almost no soundtrack) takes place in the rural Ozarks, where the primary vocation is the cooking and selling of crystal meth. The main character, Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), must find her father—a renowned meth cooker—and make him appear in court, or else she, her disjointed mother, and young brother and sister must vacate their property, which their father put up to make bond.

What ensues is a dark, frightening journey through wintering countryside and dilapidated homes. Each person Ree encounters is more dangerous than the last, all of them more concerned with protecting themselves than helping her.

Lawrence’s performance as a fearless young woman (her character is only seventeen) in a struggle to protect her family is incredible. Coupled with the sheer honesty of the film’s presentation, her performance makes her well-deserving of her Best Actress nomination.

The film manages to end on a hopeful note, despite almost constant bleakness.

Also starring John Hawkes (Deadwood, Eastbound & Down) and Garrett Dillahunt (Deadwood, No Country for Old Men), Winter’s Bone‘s cast and script match the critical credentials it deservedly earned.


One Comment

  1. Hillbillyloren says:

    Great Movie!! I was raised in the Missouri Ozarks area where the film was set and filmed. This is the part of the US that loves Sara Palin, Rush Limbaugh (who is from Missouri) and voted for GW Bush twice. I have to say that the film was amazingly “true to life” in every detail. I would also like to say that you don’t have to be desperately hungry to hunt and eat squirrels either. It is considered very good food in the hills. I have eaten it many times and it is delicious when cooked correctly.

    I have been dismayed reading many of these reviews calling it a “fake” and/or “phony” and contrived film. I do understand that the character of Ree Dolly certainly has many wonderful and admirable qualities that seem to have developed in a vacuum. Ree Dolly needs to be that sort of character for the rest of the film to work and not simply be a documentary of the endless poverty endured in the Ozarks for generation after generation. I grew up EXACTLY in that part of Missouri and Ree’s character aside, it is EXACTLY correct in the look, the language and the behaviors there.

    I would also like to address the meth epidemic that has raced across huge sections of the rural Midwest America. I was raised in the Ozarks from 1963 until 2009 and I watched the moonshiners lose out as Sunday Blue Laws and Dry County Laws were voted down or abandoned. Then marijuana became THE big cash crop that survived and thrived for many years until “Daddy” Bush’s anti-marihuana laws poured in tons of money to local law enforcement and new laws confiscating lands forced the richer growers indoors. It was finally in the mid 1990s when you began to see meth force out ALL the remaining marihuana farmers and moonshiners. Counties began to get in meth dealing Sheriffs and the old games were OVER. In my Ozark County (Morgan) during the late 1990s a deputy sheriff’s home mysteriously exploded and then was investigated by the FBI. I watched as the marijuana became hard to find and evil meth take over.

    The people of the Ozarks have always been clannish, hostile to outsiders and proudfully ignorant and primitive in their opinions of society and politics. Those traits are nothing new or something that manifested due to meth. But the introduction of meth has struck down many good men and women who might have made the culture a tiny bit more tolerant or hopeful.

    But along with the continuing devastation of multi generational poverty and vastly inferior schools there is also a great beauty in the land and the people of the region that you can see in a short movie shot in the Ozarks at;

    or my longer version at:

    Many an unbelievably gifted musician lived and died in those hills never having recognition from anyone outside of the hills.

    I strongly urge everyone to watch this movie because it is VERY
    truthful and realistic of how parts of the US survive. It also shows a part of America that is VERY often overlooked because many are (rightfully) ashamed that this sort of 3rd world poverty exits in the US. I personally feel that the Federal US government needs to inject a LOT more funding and OVERSITE of the rural school districts in order to overcome the generations of prideful ignorance that governs the mindset of many born into that rural America culture.

    1. M.J. Robinson says:

      Thanks for your passionate, informative reply, Loren!

      1. Hillbillyloren says:

        You are welcome! Thank you for a great site! There is always something cool here.

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