The movie is a thriller wrapped in mystery, and set against the backdrop of the poverty stricken Ozark Mountains. Jennifer Lawrence portrays a very strong lead character named Ree who is forced into maturity beyond her years as she cares for her younger siblings due to an ailing mother and absentee father.
Already faced with the harsh realities of the world Ree is forced to risk her life seeking out her father when she learns that he put their house up as bail and vanished – potentially leaving them homeless. She proves to be very aware that her father, as well as most of her local relatives, is a Cooker – that is to say that they’re involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamines.
The subtlety of both her performance and the overall progression of the storyline are something to be admired, although I do have a few gripes over the last exchange between Ree and the town Sheriff. This grip is a very minor one and the realism in the portrayal of the inner circles of these meth labs more than makes up for it and pulls us into her world. John Hawkes delivers an unflinching performance as her uncle who is torn between their code of silence and wanting to protect his niece from the head of the local manufacturing network.
This is my first time experiencing the work of Debra Granik although I’m sure I’ll be keeping my eye out for her next film. Overall ‘Winters Bone’ is a wonderfully crafted film that I hope finds a way to reach the masses so that everyone can have the opportunity to share this cinematic experience.