I love a movie that takes me on an emotional journey so intense that it sticks with me for days. Winter's Bone is haunting and disturbing, yet oddly uplifting. Ree Dolly, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a determined 17-year-old who must track down her crystal-meth-manufacturing father while struggling to raise her younger brother and sister with no money or support. Ree is a tough survivor doing whatever it takes to protect the remains of her broken family as she navigates a ring of hillbilly thugs through the bleak imagery of the poor, rundown Ozark landscape. She overcomes obstacle after obstacle, until finally she earns the guilt-ridden sympathy and assistance from unlikely source.
Strange enough, there are a few of similarities between Winter's Bone and True Grit. Both plots are driven by adolescent girls on quests to right the wrongs created by their fathers' actions. Both show dogged perseverance in the face of overwhelming adversity, and Ree's Rooster comes in the form of her uncle, Teardrop, who's whiskey escape is in the form of crank.
Not for the light of heart, but Winter's Bone portrays the worst of humans in a compelling story, and along the way, demonstrates the best qualities of our race as well. I'm only 8 movies in, but Winter's Bone scores #2 on my list of 25 movies to see before Oscar Night 2011 and clearly earns it's Best Picture nomination. And Lawrence's performance deserves her Best Leading Actress nomination as she outshines Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right, but it sounds like Natalie Portman is the one to beat in that category.
RANKING of OSCAR 2011 MUST-SEES (so far):
- True Grit
- Winter's Bone
- The Town
- Toy Story 3
- How to Train Your Dragon
- The Kids Are All Right
- Alice in Wonderland
What did you think of Winter's Bone? What's your top movie so far?
Up next... Animal Kingdom.