Winter’s Bone (2010)

I saw Winter’s Bone when it first came out in 2010 and I’ve been meaning to review it for a while. For some reason I’ve never gotten around to it.

Winter’s Bone (still Jennifer Lawrence’s best film) is a much better introduction to the white underclass than J. D. Vance’s overly hyped Hillbilly Elegy, and a much better movie than any of the films in the blockbuster Hunger Games series. There isn’t a bad performance in the whole film. John Hawkes is especially good as a violent meth cooker who nevertheless manages to find his conscience.

I’m personally not as pessimistic about Ree Dolly’s eventual fate as this review. By shaming her extended family into leading her to her father’s body (and saving her family’s house), Ree (in spite of her youth) takes her fate into her own hands. I see her eventually either escaping the Ozarks or becoming a leader in her community.

I’d also love to see Dale Dickey — who plays an older woman who first attempts to terrorize Ree out of searching for her father, but ends up helping her — get more roles.

She had a brief but vivid part in Breaking Bad (where she kills her husband by pushing an ATM machine on his head) and is one of the best things about Winter’s Bone. She could be the Jane Darwell of this era. Sadly she’ll probably get stuck doing an occasional bit part here and there.

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