Go see this film!
It is not cute or fun or charming. It does not have singing penguins.
The squirrels in it are shot and skinned and fried for the family’s food.
The film is “Winter’s Bone” which every reviewer is (fairly) calling the best film of the year. It’s the story of 17-year-old Ree, whose Mom is mentally ill and medicated and useless and her 12-year-old brother and 6-year-old sister. Her Dad who “cooks crank” for a living, has disappeared and they will lose their Ozarks home and land if Ree can’t find him and get him to meet his court date.
She heads off to beg from a variety of friends and neighbors and relatives for help. What she encounters is a world filled with darkness. Here is a kind of poverty and desperation so deep and so bitter and so hopeless it’s almost unbearable to watch, moderated only by her kindly neighbor who takes in their horse and brings them left-over venison.
Ree is amazing. She soldiers through a life that would break most of us and there are scenes that are so sad and so horrifying they will sear you.
The women are cracked and worn with deep wrinkles in their faces and wear little make-up. The clothes are the uniform of many rural poor — hoodies and camo and thick black sneakers. There is almost no music, no soundtrack to soften or prettify this tale. The only singing is from the locals singing early folk songs.
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