Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pink Julep at the Cinema: Winter's Bone


Winter's Bone is the harrowing tale of a 17 year old girl named Ree played by Jennifer Lawrence, living in the Ozark Mountains (located around the border of Missouri and Arkansas for those of you who don't know) who has been left by her father to care for her mentally ill mother and two young siblings. At the beginning of the film it is made clear that her father is on the run because he's been caught yet again making Crystal Meth and he is due in court. Having put up the house his family lives in for the bail bond, Ree sets out to find him and make sure he makes his court date to save her family from homelessness, but she ends up going on a wild goose chase, all the while teaching two young children how to hunt and skin squirrels so they don't starve to death.

I had wanted to see this film for ages and it did not disappoint! Winter's Bone deserves every bit of recognition it's received if not more. The plot is simple, but the result is amazing!

I was also happy to see that Jennifer Lawrence is a fellow Kentuckian, born and raised in Louisville. Her performance was great! I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.

The thing that really brought this film home for me was that I grew up in a very impoverished part of Kentucky and I am sure I've known many girls who lived hard lives like Ree in Winter's Bone. You may think this is a funny story about rednecks and hillbillies, but I can assure you, there's nothing funny about it. Ree, like many young girls and boys in rural parts of America are smart and resourceful. They deserved a chance at a better life, but many of them will never get that chance. I am often finding myself in conversations about poverty in different parts of the world and it's difficult to explain exactly how bad some people have it in the United States when approached by others who think that the US is full of well-to-do people everywhere who have every chance at making their American dreams come true. Having lived a nice life with my educated parents, I realize I was very lucky to have the advantages I was given, seeing as how the average annual income where I was raised is $14,000 per year for an average household of 3 people. That's nothing and we all know it! Some of us spend that on a handbag or a vacation.

Winter's Bone is brilliant, hosting excellent performances, authentic music and was filmed in Branson, Missouri, right in the middle of the scenic Ozark Mountains. However, let this film also be a reminder that many people in the US are struggling and suffering from poverty and a true lack of advantages. You don't have to look too far from home to find people in need... sometimes they're sitting right under your nose. I highly recommend Winter's Bone. It's a brilliant film!

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  1. I've been wanting to see this. I grew up in Easter KY and what I've seen of this movie seems like something that could have or is going on there. Thanks for the review!

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