Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Lawrence’

Apparently, I’m the only person in America who didn’t see The Hunger Games this weekend.  That’s alright.  I’ll get around to it.  Nor have I read the books mainly because with the notable exception of Ms. Rowling’s epic series, ‘Young Adult’ stuff lands with a dull thud at my dainty size 7’s.

Anyway, the movie racked up the third-highest box office weekend in history behind only movies featuring Batman and Harry Potter.  155 Million Dollars.  And there are two more books in the series.  Think there’s gonna be a sequel?  Katniss is officially the shit.  And she doesn’t owe it strictly to the tween girls to whom she was targeted.  The movie drew to men and women, old and young. 

Now, I’m not here to discuss The Hunger Games.  Like I said, haven’t seen it.  I was just thinking that of all those eyes that landed on young Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role, few had probably ever seen Winter’s Bone, a film from 2010 in which she also starred and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Winter’s Bone is strikingly similar to the newer film in many respects.  Both films take place in dirt poor mountainous regions of the U.S.  Both feature Lawrence as a young girl in her late teens who, absent a father figure, must struggle to provide for and protect her siblings and her mother.  In both films, through circumstance, she is thrown into a cruel world where adults would just as soon see her dead if it served their purposes.

Winter’s Bone, however, is most definitely not geared towards the kiddos.  In the film, Lawrence as Ree must deal with the extended absence of her father and the impact it’s had on her family.  The father is a notorious cook and dealer of meth in their Ozark town and was recently arrested.  Upon being bailed out, he disappeared but not before putting the family’s rundown home up as collateral on his bond.  As his court date quickly approaches, Ree is warned that, if he fails to appear, the county will seize the home and put her and her family out on the street.

What follows is a desperate search by Ree to bring her father in to stand for his crimes.  She doesn’t care if he’s guilty.  She can’t afford to.  She just knows that they can’t lose the house.  She encounters road blocks every step of the way as she tries to break through walls of secrecy and loyalty in a region where everyone knows what happened but no one’s talking.  Her only ally is her uncle, Teardrop , who is himself an addict.  At first. he warns her off and tells her to leave it alone.  But reluctantly he accepts that familial bonds require him to protect his niece.  And he does so with gusto.  Teardrop is played to menacing perfection by John Hawkes who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the film.  The resolution is both chilling and sadly inevitable.

I picked Winter’s Bone as my favorite movie of 2010 and I stick with that assertion.  It’s dripping in southern gothic dread.  It’s just a damn fine movie.  Check it out if you get the chance.

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