Winter’s Bone Review – May the Plague Strike You if You Don’t Watch It

C’est magnifique!

If you live in the U.S. and in the vicinity of where the English movie Winter’s Bone is playing and still don’t care to see it, then may you be stricken with the plague and suffer unendurable pain.

Seriously, Winter’s Bone is that good a movie.

Hungering for Relief

Desperate to rid our soul of the putrid remnants of the Bollywood bozo Abhishek Bachchan’s nightmare Raavan, we acutely hungered craved for some relief.

And we found our Nirvana Saturday at Ritz 5 Philadelphia in Winter’s Bone.

Folks, Winter’s Bone is not just a good picture.

Au contraire, it’s a magnificent, jaw-dropping, awesome picture.

The kinda movie that wholesomely restores your faith in movies as an art form and as a medium of entertainment.

And you don’t have to salvage a shopworn epic like Ramayan for a story.

Are you listening, Mani Ratnam?

Mani Ratnam are You f*cking listening?

Winters Bone

There were close to 50 people for the 2:50PM show of Winter’s Bone and as far as we can remember that was a record for any indie movie we’ve watched at the Ritz 5.

Adapted from the 2006 novel of the same name by Daniel Woodrell and directed adeptly by Debra Granick, Winter’s Bone is straight off a piece of life in modern-day America.

That is, life just a few miles outside of the big cities.

For all you dolts who still believe in the fiction that America is the richest country in the world and where the streets are paved with gold, let’s tell you that there are millions, both Whites and Blacks, leading miserable, hardscrabble lives, sometimes a mere few miles beyond the city limits.

And that is the picture Winter’s Bone presents us, and so well indeed – a realistic slice of rural life in America, of families living in such poverty where they still hunt squirrels for food, where there’s no money to even take care of the family horse and where joining the Army is often the sole hope.

Winters BoneRee Dolly Suffers a Brutal Beating

The setting is the Ozark mountains in Missouri (don’t ask, we haven’t been there) where, in parts, cooking meth (the process of making an illegal narcotic drug) is a way of life, a way out of poverty or a way of crime.

Which way, you ask? Well, that depends on your perspective and the prism through which you view the world.

Wall of Resistance

When young Ree Dolly’s (Jennifer Lawrence) father Jessup Dolly fails to appear at a court hearing after posting their home as the bail-bond following an arrest, the bond agent comes calling with the unwelcome news that the family will lose the house unless Jessup can be found.

And found soon, else the family will have nowhere to live.

No stranger to hard times, after all 17-year-old Ree has been running the household and taking care of her two younger siblings and an ailing mother, still the bond agent’s visit and the scary prospect of losing the home is so unsettling that Ree promises to find her father.

And that folks is what this splendid movie is all about – Ree Dolly’s desperate, feverish hunt for her father in the face of daunting odds.

At every turn of Ree’s urgent quest to find her father, she encounters hostility, meets a thick wall of resistance, even from her own blood, that eventually turns into a bloody, violent assault against her.

Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress, and mark our words carefully now, one about whom y’all will be hearing and talking a lot in the coming years and decades.

When helping her younger siblings, when confronting the hostile populace around her, when teaching her siblings to shoot, when pleading with her mother to come out of her dazed stupor for once, when trying to join the army and finally in the boat on the dark night, Jennifer’s intense performance in Winter’s Bone is a revelation.

A gorgeous actress. In looks and on the screen. That’s mio amore Jennifer Lawrence! 😉

If you think the 19-year-old actress is the only sterling performer in Winter’s Bone, boy, you’d be so wrong.

Jennifer is supported by a solid cast including John Hawkes as her uncle Tear Drop, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey and others.

You see Ree’s confrontation with the menacing Tear Drop and you realize what real acting is all about. Not the shit shoveled at you by those pathetic monkeys in Bollywood.

Must Watch

The photography is extremely pleasing and has a grayish tinge throughout in keeping with the gray, somber theme of the film.

Director Debra Granick builds and maintains the suspense in the young girl’s hunt for her father until the horrifying moments when we finally find Jessup Dolly.

Granik also co-wrote the screenplay along with Anne Rosellini.

Besides the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival 2010, Winter’s Bone has already won a host other awards. All of it, deservedly so.

To our American readers, we can’t endorse Winter’s Bone strongly enough.

The movie is playing across the country at these theaters and you’d be fools not to see it.

As for our Indian readers, well, the thieving bastards know …. 😉

12 Responses to "Winter’s Bone Review – May the Plague Strike You if You Don’t Watch It"

  1. முனிAndy   June 21, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Interesting, I used to watch the Bill Engvall show for Jennifer Lawrence.. never expected to see her in Oscar discussions.. mainly because she’s very young.

    Saw about a week ago.

    Good for her. Responds:

    We hadn’t seen her before.

    Hence a revelation for us.

    Your above link is, of course, a ‘revealation.’ Not that we mind. 😉

  2. vjcool   June 23, 2010 at 11:35 am

    please review a Miyazaki film, or a or ‘The Bird People in China’. i think Miyazaki will be good change, cause its a different kind of film making, even from the story and execution perspective.

    Charge me if you dont like it !!. Responds:

    OK. Keep some $$ ready. 😉

    Will do soon. Really.

    • sganeshkumar1989   June 25, 2010 at 11:28 am

      @vjcool,better recommend Yojimbo or Rashomon of Akira’s;SI might end up paying you for recommending such fine films! 😉 Responds:

      Rashomon was recently playing in Philly. Should have seen it.

  3. guruprasad.s   June 24, 2010 at 6:21 am

    You write:
    And you don’t have to salvage a shopworn epic like Ramayan for a story.

    Do you mean ?:
    And you don’t have to scavenge a shopworn epic like Ramayan for a story.

    The lack of effort and thought in writing a good script is not only sad, but baffling.
    How do directors get away with such a thing ?

    A friend of mine who watched Raavan lamented that while Rajneeti was a bit subtle,
    Raavan is literally trying to map characters from Ramayan, with some pathetic
    lines such as “dus-dus chehre hai uske” (while referring to Raavan). Responds:

    1. You write: How do directors get away with such a thing ?

    A little success goes to the head, lamentably.

    2. Salvage or scavenge? Both are fine.

    You go to a scrap yard/salvage yard and see what you can salvage/pick from the mountain of junk/trash that might be of some use.

    By its very nature, anything picked from a salvage yard is in a worn state. Although not in pristine condition, the thing you picked may still be put to some use.

    One could say Prakash Jha salvaged a film from the Mahabharat’s pages better than Mani Ratnam did from the Raamayan.

    All that said, if we were writing the review de novo we’d pick scavenge.

  4. guruprasad.s   June 24, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for your patient explanation.
    But whatever Mani Rathnam did, it wasnt good enough.

    To quote an old one:
    Abhishek has hit rock bottom and is still digging.

    • tiramisu   June 27, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      Another outstanding movie that I watched last night was ‘amores perros’.
      Fantastic storytelling, peppered with the gruesome reality of life in Mexico.
      I couldn’t resist some comparisons to ‘slumdog millionaire’ which attempted to capture Mumbai’s lowlife, but to me was synthetic and excessively romanticized. ‘Amores perros’ is the real deal…. Recommend watching it if you haven’t already.

      Another recommendation in the same genre that I watched recently is ‘Sin Nombre’.
      Pretty good but not in the same class as ‘Amores Perros’ though. Responds:

      Here’s the review of Sin Nombre.

      Amores Perros, we’re not sure if we’ve watched it. Likely not.

  5. kd36939   July 19, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    i was in chicago this weekend and happened to find this movie running in a nearby theater. i immediately booked the tickets online for sunday evening show. after watching this movie, i directly added this to my personal list of – worst movies seen in my life.

    i think its the first time i have to completely (100%) disagree with u.

    do u call this a story? there was hardly any… the characters were annoying.. especially her relatives. y r they so pissed off with a 17 yr old girl? the whole chain of events also doesnt seem to be natural… some scenes were deliberately made to show the sufferings. the heroine characterization was also confusing… one point she takes help from the neighbors.. and later down the movie she is pissed off with them when they offered to help her brother.

    also didn’t u find the movie to be out of time? i thought if you are below some income level, you are eligible for welfare money or something… y didn’t they avail that? also the fact the the heroine did not know anything about the bond n stuff is unbelievable… there are so many things which made me confused. Responds:

    1. Get back to us when this film wins the Oscar.

    2. You write: do u call this a story? there was hardly any…

    Well, that depends on if you were snoring or awake.

    So what was that search for her father (to avoid losing the house) and the rich context (inside the family, among relatives, poverty, Meth et al) all about then. Not a story?

    3. Not a pip-squeak from you about Jennifer Lawrence’s acting, one of the high-points of the movie.

    Here’s an excerpt from The Kansas City Star:

    A somewhat happier encounter took place at a studio where the actress’s path crossed that of director Steven Spielberg.

    “He opened a door for me, then looks at me and says, ‘Aren’t you Jennifer Lawrence? Didn’t I just see you in “Winter’s Bone”?’

    “I practically passed out. I talked with him for, like, 20 minutes. Then I got in my car and started crying because I didn’t know what else to do.

    “So I called my mom, who was in town. She said, ‘That’s great, Jen. What do you want for dinner?’ ”

    Lawrence has never had an acting lesson.

    Read more:

    Of course, what would Spielberg know about movies or acting, right?

    Spielberg has so much time in the world that he spends 20 minutes with a two-bit, unknown actress, right?

    Spielberg who, right?

    Hell, all I care about is Shankar and Sivaji Enthiran. 😉

    3. We thought it portrayed life in the hinterlands of the deep South quite well. There’s a lot of poverty down there, including White poverty, as you should know if you stepped out of your cocoon.


  6. kd36939   July 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    @SI You write: So what was that search for her father (to avoid losing the house) and the rich context (inside the family, among relatives, poverty, Meth et al) all about then

    oh oh… how many times we have seen movies like this in tamil where the female protagonist bears the brunt of poverty, helplessness, useless father etc.? it is definitely not new to us.

    yeah i did not mention anything about jennifer’s acting.. but what do u expect? its a movie about a female character and a majority of the story revolves around her and so the least you expect is a decent acting from her. i just took that for granted.

    n u said they portrayed life in interior ozarks well.. i again disagree. gloomy mountains and bunch of dilapidated houses is what they showed. nothing more. again, we have seen so many movies showing stuff like this before, right? my point is, its nothing new (at least to we Indians (mainly tamils))

    anyway, while at the theatre they were showing many promos, n the ones that impressed me were Farewell and Mao’s Last Dancer. please review them if you get a chance to watch it. Responds:

    1. Since the chasm between us on Winter’s Bone is too wide to be bridged, no useful purpose would be served in discussing the subject further.

    BTW, decent acting is hardly a given in the country we all hail from even if the movie revolves around a single character.

    2. Mao’s Last Dancer releases on August 6. We’ll try to watch it. Not sure if Farewell is playing anywhere near us.

    • kd36939   July 21, 2010 at 1:30 am

      @SI You write: Since the chasm between us on Winter’s Bone is too wide to be bridged, no useful purpose would be served in discussing the subject further


      i have heard lot through my colleagues about poor red necks around ozark area. ozark mountains is jus 3 hrs from where i live. i should plan for a visit there sometime soon to see it myself.

      i think it will be a nice idea for u guys to review places of interest too… not the usual ones like niagra, times square… but the ones which are unknown to desi travelers (n non desis too). how often u people travel? Responds:

      We’ll try and think of some offbeat places in the U.S. to write about.

      • vjcool   July 22, 2011 at 5:44 am

        yeah offbeat places would be nice.. plz.

        well the July 21 on the previous comment was a year old, I thought it was yesterday’s comment..

        BTW.. plz plz plz review the imdb 250.

        I do know you mayn’t have watched Tangled.. but couldnt help talk about animated films… Responds:

        IMDB 250 soon.

  7. முனிAndy   February 3, 2011 at 11:41 am

    She was on Leno yesterday.. Responds:

    Thanks for the link.

    Her face looks a little swollen. Wonder why?

    Is she pregnant? 😉

  8. முனிAndy   May 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Watched it at last.. It was ok for me, but wifey was blown away by Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. was weeping at many places. I wish it were “Summer’s Bone”.. she was wearing too many layers of clothing. Maybe that’s what bothered kd too.. Responds:

    You write: wifey was blown away by Jennifer Lawrence’s performance

    Your wife now joins Steven Spielberg, SI and the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who nominated Jennifer Lawrence for the Best Actress Oscar.

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