Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter's Bone

It's been more than two years since I wrote a post about Winter's Bone, the novel by Daniel Woodrell. It's a short, spare novel. The film, which I watched recently, is as faithful an adaptation as anybody could have hoped for. It's set in the Ozarks, and it's about blood kin and mountain ways and family and an outlaw culture that's alien to many of us who live a very different kind of life.

The narrative is straight as an arrow. Ree Dolly's father, Jesse, has put up his house and land as bond. If he doesn't show up in court, the property is forfeit. Without it, Ree can't keep her family (younger brother and sister, damaged mother) together and take care of them. She has to find her father or prove he's dead, and she sets out to do it. It's a hard, brutal job, but Ree's not easily dissuaded.

Jennifer Lawrence gives what used to be called a star-making performance as Ree, but the rest of the cast is fine, too, particularly John Hawkes as her uncle, Teardrop, and Dale Dickey as Merab. If you remember her as the prostitute from My Name is Earl, her performance might be revelation. It was for me.

A fine, moving film. Check it out.

Posted by Bill Crider.

1 comment: