Movie #82 2021: Winter’s Bone (2010)

Winter’s Bone. The movie that first garnered attention for the now instantly recognisable Jennifer Lawrence. Can you blame me for being interested?

Winter’s Bone is an American drama film set in the Ozark woods. Here’s a hint as to how much I enjoyed it: I had to Google the synopsis in order to remember what it was about. In short, Lawrence plays Ree, a 17 year old girl whose father disappeared under strange circumstances and was left to care for her two younger siblings. When she finds out that her father put up their house for his bail bond before he disappeared, her mission becomes to find him before she and her family are made homeless. In sinister fashion, she quickly realises all is not as it seems.

Basically, this is pure Oscar fodder. Would anyone have even watched it if it wasn’t nominated for any major awards? Doubtful. Maybe few film buffs here and there. Funnily enough, I watched it because I saw it on a Letterboxd list called “Movies Nobody’s Thought About Since the Oscars”. I can confirm I will also never think about it again. After writing this review, of course.

Winter’s Bone isn’t poorly made as such, but there’s relatively little to like about it. Don’t get me wrong there are a bunch of things within this film that are great as singular elements, but it’s just so dreary and bleak that it’s difficult to enjoy them. For example, Dickon Hinchliffe‘s score is sorely underrated and perfectly fitting, but the often depressing score is consistently matched with depressing action on screen and it all becomes one big slog to get through. Not exactly what I was hoping for on a cold Monday morning.

Most will know this movie due to Jennifer Lawrence’s performance and that’s completely warranted. She completely nails the softer, quieter scenes with her siblings whilst bringing absolute realism and power to her more emotional and dramatic work. It’s a performance that rightly made the actress attractive to the producers of The Hunger Games, and it’s without doubt the best thing about the film as a whole.

Sure, it’s all relatively well made and certainly well performed, but there’s genuinely nothing here that will either wow you or surprise you. In terms of enjoyability, it feels so hard to get through even though it’s a 90 minute movie, which is never a good sign. 

In all honesty, I’m finding it extremely difficult to say anything more about it. Not memorable in the slightest.

Aside from Lawrence’s noteworthy presence, it’s all just very average and entirely forgettable. A shame really. That Letterboxd list really was right…

Winter’s Bone is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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