Sep 122010
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

As far as a story about a girl walking around the Ozarks goes, “Winter’s Bone” may very well be the most exciting. Wow that’s disappointing.

The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as Ree, a strong yet overburdened 17 year old who is the sole guardian for her two younger siblings. Their meth-cooking father vanished, and their mother is rendered incapable of providing for the family.

To make matters worse, their father, Jessup, placed the family home as bond for his jail sentence, so if Ree can’t find him within a week they lose the house.

The problem is, nobody in town will say where Jessup went, so Ree is in a bit of a sticky situation. She’s forced into a devil-may-care attitude to risk anything to save her house and protect her family.

While Lawrence holds her own as the lead role, she is essentially acting by herself for the majority of the movie.

This solo actor technique works out in a film like “Moon,” where brooding mystery creates intrigue and something to think about. This is not the case in “Winter’s Bone,” which establishes itself as a depiction of an almost foreign world rather than a thinker that warrants major reflection.

Unfortunately, “Winter’s Bone” takes this exposition method and plays out more like an HBO drama series than a movie. It successfully reveals inter-clan relations in a sort of primal Native American society but does very little to delve into its deeper issues. And much like an HBO series, the production values don’t match up to par with cinema quality.

As much as I like to watch people play hide and seek, I can’t say that I ever got into this movie.

There are some gripping moments to be sure, and it’s certainly an eye opener if you have never learned about the Ozarks before, but I was fairly disappointed with it.

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at

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