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June 06, 2010

Winter's Bone

Winters_bone Relative newcomer Jennifer Lawrence delivers an unforgettable performance as Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old Ozark girl who cares for her mentally disabled mother and two younger siblings. Ree's hardscrabble rural existence is threatened by legal machinations which threaten to repossess her home and wooded land if her outlaw father Jessup fails to appear for a court date. Desperate to track down her crystal-meth-producing dad in order to save her family, Ree is forced to request the assistance of coldhearted relatives who treat her with more than passing contempt. Adapting the story from Daniel Woodrell's novel, co-writer/director Debra Granik ("Down to the Bone" - 2004) takes full advantage of the harsh Missouri landscape in order to examine the cruel mindset of some of the meanest people you'll ever encounter on or off the big screen. Granik manipulates the narrative and natural images with a poetic energy that Jennifer Lawrence fulfills with astonishing braveness and integrity. Gothic in tone and unapologetically downbeat, "Winter's Bone" is a film that turns over a rock of backwoods American reality and studies the beautiful and ugly things that crawl there with equal interest. It's the strongest drama of the year so far. 

Rated R. 109 mins. (A) (Five Stars - out of five/no halves)

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