Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Winter's Bone

While most teenage girl’s biggest concerns revolve around who will pay their cell phone bill and who Bella will choose in next Twilight entry, Ree has real responsibilities no person her age should bear. In addition to taking care of her younger brother and sister for her mentally ill mother, she now must track down her father, a meth-head who has put their house up for bail, and skipped his court date. Now, through the Ozarks of Missouri, Ree must confront hillbilly kin and foe on the whereabouts of her father, or lose her families entire property.Yes this is bleak, but she is not entirely alone. Her neighbor takes in their horse they cannot feed and provides mild charity. An army recruiter shoots her straight by telling her not to join the army for money and that her real responsibilities are at home right now, not in her country’s service. I imagined a more quota driven officer would not have given her this sage advice. Also, a wayward uncle eventually comes around and begins to help the family out. Every once in a while, a film comes around that acknowledges that not everyone in this country lives in New York or Los Angeles, and is intimately familiar with its place and inhabitants. Winter’s Bone, based on a novel by Daniel Woodrell and directed by Debra Granik, knows its characters and its southern Missouri locations. The performers in the movie do not feel like actors, but rather inhabitants of this land living out their daily lives. In addition to capturing this element, Granik is able to generate tension as Ree’s search becomes more hazardous and the story goes in directions you would not expect. Here is a film that is a travelogue to a rarely seen part of America and a rare kind of film that is not often seen these days.