2011 was a great year for movies. I loved The King’s Speech, and Black Swan was incredible (I’m still not sure whether I liked it, but it was very good), but Winter’s Bone was just amazing. I didn’t give it much thought until I saw Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games, but it’s been on my mental que for a couple of weeks now, and I finally got to it tonight (my mom staunchly refused to watch it, but she’s off achieving her Manifest Destiny, so my dad and I are bumming around, eating dinner in the kitchen and watching movies she wouldn’t like).
It’s powerful stuff. Ree Dolly, (Lawrence’s character) is a lot like Katniss, and even though she’s great in both roles she’s far from a one trick pony. She plays scared and defensive and hungry really well, but it’s more than that- you can’t help rooting for her. She shoots squirrels, and stands up to drug dealers, and is a total badass, but she’s also a loving sister and daughter. Honestly, Winter’s Bone is practically the prequel to THG, there’s so much overlap, so people can body snark away, but Jennifer Lawrence was the perfect casting choice.
The movie itself is very very dark, but extremely compelling. My dad isn’t a fan of the South, but I liked how everyone was always offering guests food and drinks, even if they were about to brutally beat them, and all the families had lots of dogs. The scenery was beautiful (it was filmed in MO, but it looked a lot like how I imagine West Virginia- woods, and lakes, and mountains), and the soundtrack featured a lot of twang, and banjos, so that was right up my alley. It actually fit into my image of an underserved area where I might work off my student loan debts, but hopefully with less hillbilly mafia activity. The women in the movie were really interesting characters, my dad compare it to Macbeth, and that feels accurate. The men caused a lot of problems, running off, and cooking meth, but the women were right there with them, matching violence with violence, and being creepy as all get out. It’s sort of hard to see how a good egg like Ree came out of that environment, but even though the movie tries to end on a positive note the outlook after the final curtain didn’t look good, and it certainly wasn’t a happy movie by any stretch.
I know that Winter’s Bone was nominated for Best Picture last year, so saying it’s good is like recommending someone try Starbucks, but for whatever it’s worth, I really liked it. Jennifer Lawrence didn’t get Best Actress, and The Hunger Games isn’t going to get any major awards, but she’s on her way.