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116 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing glimpse into another world
I have to agree with the other reviewer who described this as one of the best films of the year but sadly it will only reach a limited audience. This is a fascinating and disturbing glimpse into the world of 'poor white trash' in Missouri. Ree Dolly is a 17yr old girl who cares for her mother and two younger siblings whilst her absent father is off cooking crystal meth...
Published on 23 Nov. 2010 by PJ Rankine

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling portrait of a rarely seen America
The bleak lives of poverty stricken people with low expectations and no ambition beyond having babies or joining the army - an America rarely glimpsed in movies, presented here uncomfortably pared to the bone. There's no question that Winter's Bone delivers on atmosphere, but atmosphere is only a background for a plot, and plot-wise the movie falters. The story is a...
Published on 27 Aug. 2011 by S. Haddow


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116 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing glimpse into another world, 23 Nov. 2010
By 
PJ Rankine (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Winter's Bone [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
I have to agree with the other reviewer who described this as one of the best films of the year but sadly it will only reach a limited audience. This is a fascinating and disturbing glimpse into the world of 'poor white trash' in Missouri. Ree Dolly is a 17yr old girl who cares for her mother and two younger siblings whilst her absent father is off cooking crystal meth. They are dirt poor and live on the charity of their neighbours and what they can hunt but they are also proud. Ree will not let her brother ask for help saying they will only accept what should be freely offered. Her errant father appears to skip bail and she has to find him before the bail bondsman takes their shack and they are all left homeless. This is a world where blood is still thicker than water but that doesn't mean your relatives are unwilling to spill it. Ree battles against a wall of silence and eventually brutality in her search where it appears no one will help her. Yes this film is bleak and at times can be brutal and yet through it all glimpses of human kindness and caring still shine through. The generally unknown cast do a fantastic job and leading lady 20 year old Jennifer Lawrence will struggle to better her superb performance in this film. This is a film to watchand absorb and then feel grateful for your comfortable life. It is also a film to tell your friends about.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold Comfort, 23 Oct. 2010
By 
C. Mckenna (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Winter's Bone [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
For me this is the movie of the year so far. It's quite a simple story, which I wont spoil for you now, but it is richly drawn and full of menace and suspense. Although the subject matter is often horrific and unsettling, it is always suggested than rather smeared all over the screen, makings it's impact more real. The acting is excellent throughout, with the characters being as convincing and they are frightening.

The heroine of the movie inspires admiration and affection, and even raises a few laughs despite her perilous predicament. Although the film portrays a landscape of desperation and desolation, it is ultimately satisfying and uplifting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRAVO!, 15 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Winter's Bone [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
The plot is fairly simple. Ree Holly (Jennifer Lawrence) is at home taking care of her mother, who takes happy pills and is menatlly out of it. She also cares for her two siblings. She is 17. She goes to school and chops wood too. Clarence Carter's "Patches" lived in a dream world compared to her. Her father is missing and it appears he will miss bail. The family farm has been put up for bond. Ree searches for her father, who made and sold Meth.

The movie is shot on location in Southern Missouri, Jesse James country. It captures impoverished rural America. The accents are remarkably well done and not overdone like so many films. Jennifer Lawrence gives us an Academy Award performance. The movie also captures the independent spirit of the people, their general disdain of law enforcement, and their willingness to help each other in a time of crisis, in spite of a certain code of silence.

Like many small isolated communities, most folk are somehow kin. Ree uses the kin card to elicit help. Her uncle, who refused to help her, eventually does so after Ree displays bravery and persistence. Remarkable performances by the entire cast, including the child actors. There are no super heroes walking tall or high action scenes. It is realistic, which translates into scenes some might consider boring, although I personally found them interesting as we worked with Ree to unravel a simple mystery, one which everyone seems to know the answer, but no one is telling.

There is no sex or nudity, but it does show people with a meth spoon up their nose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GRIM BUT GREAT, 26 July 2014
By 
Valerie J. (West Yorks, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Winter's Bone [DVD] (DVD)
It's winter in The Ozarks of Missouri. The only person left to run the household is 17 year old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence). There's no money and they are running out of food. Her father has disappeared on them, her mother is withdrawn and uncommunicative, and her young brother and sister are not old enough to fend for themselves. There are animals to feed, wood to chop, and life couldn't get much tougher. Except it could. Ree's father had, unknown to the family, put up their small farm as bond after being arrested for 'cooking' drugs and now the authorities are about to throw the Dolly family out into the dirt. Ree needs to find her father but when she begins to ask around the local community, it stirs up a hornet's nest of trouble and she finds herself in danger. Maybe her father didn't just disappear on his family by choice. Maybe he was made to disappear.

Winter's Bone (2010) isn't the sort of movie you'd want to watch if you are looking for laughs and something to cheer you up. The entire movie is set against a backcloth of depressing landscape and run-down dwellings with a wonderfully haunting hillbilly soundtrack to emphasise the mood. It's just classic. Without much happening at all, the story pulls you along as Ree goes from one community member after the other asking what has happened to her father. That sounds so simple and possibly boring yet it's the short, frequently grim, scenes of poverty and rural life that make this movie a brilliant whole.

The casting of Winter's Bone is top notch with Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence in the leading role. However, the rest of the cast is so strong that she doesn't completely outshine them. Take for example the fine character actress, Dale Dickey, who never fails to make a strong screen presence even though she is always in a supporting role. In Winter's Bone she plays a hard-nosed, hard-faced woman that no one in their right mind would want to cross. Then there's the excellent performance of actor John Hawkes as (uncle) Teardrop, the coke-sniffing brother of the errant father of Ree who decides to get involved in the hunt for his brother.

While violence and strong language is limited, there are scenes which, although not particularly graphic, might not appeal to the squeamish.

In many ways Winter's Bone reminded me of the brilliant movie Frozen River [DVD] [2008]. If you like that, then you should like this, and vice versa.

VJ - Movies and Books World
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jennifer Lawrence is sensational!, 8 Jan. 2011
By 
This review is from: Winter's Bone [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Winter's Bone is a 2010 film. It explores the interrelated themes of close and distant family ties, the power and speed of gossip, patriarchy, self-sufficiency, and rural poverty in the Ozark people (in Missouri) as they are impacted by the pervasive underworld of illegal crystal meth labs. For me, the film underscores an increasing problem in America: the growth of an increasingly larger underclass of deprived people with little hope of advancing themselves. The debris of wrecked lives is everywhere here, with decrepit houses and yards filled with dead cars, broken appliances, old farm equipment and other junk.

17-year-old Ree Dolly (up and coming Jennifer Lawrence) is the sole responsible "adult" in her family - with a younger brother and sister and an incapacitated mother. She finds herself forced to track her fugitive father, a longtime crystal meth maker, through the most hardcore of the local criminal network after she learns that he has put their home up as his bail bond. Ree and her family will literally be cast into the wilderness if she can't find her father dead or alive. Jennifer Lawrence (20 in real life) radiates presence and strength well beyond her years here.

This film is gritty, stark and certainly not a date movie, but it is a compelling tale based pretty much on real life.

Recommended.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw Realism, 2 Feb. 2011
By 
Frank Messely (Kortrijk, BELGIUM) - See all my reviews
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First of, I didn't read the novel, so the whole discussion whether the film is bad because the book is better is irrelevant to me. Secondly, this didn't feel as a thriller at all. I know one thing, however: I watched this film and was deeply impressed by the casting, the acting -- in particular the protagonist's performance -- , the dialogue, and last but not least, the sets. This film truly deserves an Oscar if only because of the set decoration. I was allowed a 100 minutes peek into a dark, depressing world in which a stubborn, unflinching teenager fights for some security in a hostile world, an experience so intense that afterward it felt as though I had really met these individuals, traveled down there during a cruel winter and witnessed the behavior and way of living of these rough people in the Ozarks. If a film can do that, making us forget reality and live with fictional characters, truly feel the atmosphere of a particular place, then I think it has accomplished something. A remarkable movie!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid 4 star, verging on 4.5 star film, 2 May 2011
By 
Ben Kane (Nr Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Winter's Bone [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Before writing this, I've just glanced at some of the other reviews. It appears that this is one of those 'love it or hate it' films. I definitely fall into the former camp. Yes, this film is bleak. Yes, the world it gives us a shot of is depressing, but boy is it well-filmed and atmospheric. The brooding sense of dread is captured right from the first scene, and it never disappears. The almost monochrome colours, the broken run down homes that the characters live in, the lightly playing banjos in the background are really compelling. So too is the story - the 17 year old Ree with two younger siblings and a disabled mother to look after who is about to lose her family home unless she can find her father - or his body. I thought that the actress who played Ree was absolutely excellent too.

This film reminded me in many ways of other movies filmed about closely bound, mistrustful communities. Frozen River is less depressing, but uses the same type of close camera work and brooding music. Another older one, perhaps spawned by the idea of films such as Deliverance was the creepy Southern Comfort, about a unit of National Guardsmen on an expedition through the Louisiana swamps.

Well worth watching in my opinion.

Ben Kane, author of The Forgotten Legion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'LIFE'S STRUGGLE', 2 July 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Winter's Bone [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
'Ree'(Jennifer Lawrence) a 17 year old girl looks after her younger brother and sister as well as her sick mother, life is a constant struggle the family rely on others to put food on the table.
Their father has seemingly disapeared and has jumped bail, the home is under threat as bail had been set against it.
'Ree' sets out to track her father down but meets a wall of silence from all who knew him, she ignores the warnings given her and continues her search.
The comunity are close-knit, will they eventually help 'Ree' and her family avoid eviction ?
This is a intense watch, i wouldn't describe it as exciting but certainly engageing
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best film of 2010., 8 July 2011
By 
Harry F. Korbl (Melbourne Australia) - See all my reviews
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Not knowing anything about the story, I rented the film from the video library. I was so impressed I bought the Blu-ray, the Book and the Soundtrack.

This is the best film I have seen in the last 12 months. It will be around for a long time, and I predict; in time, the book and the film will achieve Classic Status.

Nominated for 4 Oscars; I hope it wins them all. Jennifer Lawrence definitely deserves an Oscar for her performance.

Don't be put off by the reviewers that were bored. I found it gripping and moving, even after multiple viewings.

I highly recommend reading Daniel Woodrell's novel, a brilliant bestseller that is brutal, violent and completely gripping. And through its heroine, also has a beauty that transcends the bleakness of her world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A splendor! A great film about a teenage girl's epic fight against a cold, cruel world...,, 26 Oct. 2012
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
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"Winter's bone" is one of the best films I saw in a long, long time. I watched it with eyes wide open without ever taking the shortest break and I was speechless for a long moment after the final credits rolled...

Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is 17 years old. She lives in an impoverished area in Ozark mountains. Since her father disappeared and her mother mentally collapsed she was left in sole charge of the family house and her two much younger siblings. Even before her parents became unavailable the family was very poor (as almost all other people living in the area) but now Ree makes her family survive from day to day by all sorts of expedients, more and more desperate. And then suddenly she must face a new, completely unexpected and devastating blow... What follows is an incredible, heartbreaking and nervewrecking fight this seemingly defenseless and helpless girl will wage against all odds, with very little help, to save her family... And as Ulysses had to step down to Hades to find his way to Ithaca, so she will have also at one moment to go into the deep, cold darkness... I am not saying anything more.

I was and still am in total awe of Jennifer Lawrence's performance in this film. It is not an accident that this was her big break - and once you watched this film you will realise that she simply HAD TO be chosen to play Katniss Everdeen in "Hunger Games" - because in this film she already played her, even if character's name was different.

I also simply loved the fact, that this film, although definitely not "Hollywoodian" and very, very grim in its presentation of America's poorest people, contained also lots of very valuable lessons about how to win against even the most unfavorable odds. Ree is not only totally fearless and resolved - she is also clever and always thinks things over before acting. She is not a great speaker but the few words she says are always carefully weighted and measured, to make certain they hit right where she wants them to hit. She never panicks. She always has a plan. And she always, always keeps her calm and preserves her dignity - even when lying in the dirt, coughing blood...

This uncorrupted dignity is actually the main source of her power. Unlike many of her teenage friends Ree didn't marry at a young age and she didn't get pregnant either, as so many young girls in the poorest neighborhoods. She NEVER touches to drugs - she even refuses to smoke a joint... She is also probably the only character on the screen who never drinks even one drop of alcohol. Totally focused on the survival of her family she seems to be completely celibate - although she is certainly not indifferent to men, as it is possible to see in scenes when she meets her very, very scary uncle Teardrop... Very ambivalent looks and conversations (and only looks and conversations - nothing more) between Ree and her uncle make some moments of this film more unsettling than most thrillers I saw...

The vision of this poor mountainous society living almost totally outside the laws of the rest of the country is another treasure of this film. Even Ree, who is a very noble character, shows openly contempt to the policemen - because in this strange world even if you are not a criminal yourself, you simply never talk to cops. Ever.

Some "progressist" critics called this film "feminist", but I didn't see in it any feminism at all. It is the story about human strength and dignity facing a world as cold and cruel as possible, with as much resolve, courage and dignity as one can imagine. Nothing more - but also nothing less.

In conclusion, I will repeat just once more - I LOVED this film and I am going to watch it again soon, because this is one of the best movies to be made in the last years. Enjoy!
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