***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

Winter’s Bone, an American independent drama, was released back in 2010. It launched Jennifer Lawrence’s career and achieved critical acclaim at the same time, being nominated for four Oscars.

Ree Dolly is a seventeen year old girl living in the Ozarks. Here she takes care of her catatonic mother as well as her brother and sister. Ree’s father is out on bail and skips his jury date, going missing which means that Ree and her family will lose their home, which was put up as a bond for her father, unless Ree can find him.

Jennifer Lawrence is absolutely brilliant as the unflinching main character and carries the film superbly well. Maybe I am a little biased due to my love for Jennifer Lawrence but her performance in Winter’s Bone saw her become the second youngest actress to be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars so she can’t have been that bad! The acting in this film is actually breathtaking. A lot of the cast had never acted before appearing in this low budget drama but you could never tell that. Each and every cast member gives a fantastic performance, right from Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes all the way down to the two children that play Ree’s younger brother and sister.

The story blends together themes of family, patriarchy, self-sufficiency and poverty and in doing so, Winter’s Bone managers to grasp a great sense of realism. Much of the story is told through pictures and visuals rather than dialogue as for most of the film there is very little talking going on. It means that great attention is needed to fully understand the development of the story and you will need to work hard to pick up on certain plot points. This doesn’t make the film any worse though and Debra Granik should be praised for her great directorial work.

Unfortunately, Winter’s Bone is incredibly slow paced and whilst this is probably done to give a more realist layer to the film it can leave the audience, at times, just waiting for the next big thing to happen and it might not happen for a long time. The first half of the film especially is very slow and we take a longer time than needed, perhaps, to get to know the ins and outs of Ree’s family. Slow pacing meant that this hour and a half long film feel a lot longer than it is.

Winter’s Bone takes itself very seriously, at times too seriously. But as well as this, the whole mystery of where her father is or who has killed him is built up as if we are in for a shock ending, something big. However, the ending is very anti-climatic and leaves a hole inside the audience, leaving them feel like they have missed out on something.

Despite this though, Winter’s Bone did get 4 Oscar nominations and will probably split audiences. As many people like this, there will be just as many people who don’t and I can see why people would or would not like this drama, but I did like it.

My Rating: 7/10.

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