Sunday, January 09, 2011
1:33 PM |
Something has to be said about a film where awful people in awful circumstances doing awful things still generate a good deal of compassion and kindness despite what darkness overwhelms. Call that darkness what you will -- the winter, the stark poverty, the violence, the drugs that litter this broken landscape. And yet this is as much a story of the good people do for each other in some sly, sometimes belated, way -- a glimmer of humanity that remains when much has been effaced. That is what I get from Debra Granik's painful and beautiful Winter's Bone
, the unflinching story of a 17-year-old girl named Ree who lives with two small siblings and an incapacitated mother in the cold, unforgiving poverty of the Ozark Mountains. She may be young, but the gravity of a fifty-year-old lies in undercurrents in her poker face as she goes about taking care of them as much as she can, with some rare help from neighbors who are burdened with problems of their own. But one day, she gets this bad news: her imprisoned father, out on bond, seems to have disappeared and is likely unable to attend his own court hearing. His bond includes the deeds to the house and property, and if he does not show up, Ree and her family will be forced to vacate. "I'll find him," Ree tells the sheriff, with a grimness that speaks volumes. This is her story, a plucky girl who begins to ask uncomfortable questions, stirring the dead and the ones who want to keep their silence. She begins her search, a frightful task that includes meeting up with some unsavory characters, and bearing some bruises that are part and parcel of that search. The film centers its entire universe in the performance of Jennifer Lawrence who plays Ree with a quiet conviction that draws you in with such power. This is such a painful film to watch, and yet I stayed riveted all throughout because of her. I'm not sure I can watch this film again, but I know for sure that I am mighty glad to have seen it.
 This is Where You Bite the Sandwich
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