Winter’s Bone tells the tale of how 17-year-old Ree Dolly tracks down her father, who has skipped bail and put up their house as collateral. She has one week to find her father in time for his trial or she loses the house which she shares with her younger siblings and a mother who is unable take care of herself.
Ree: I’d be lost without the weight of you two on my back. I ain’t going anywhere.
As the sole caregiver of the family, she has to find her father, dead or alive. She goes knocking on doors for leads to finding her father even after being warned not to dig any further. She pushes on, hearing possibilities that her father may have been murdered and gets beaten up for poking her nose too far in. At the same time, she does her best to keep her family together and also teach them the ways of survival should they be separated for any reason (lessons on hunting rifles and skinny squirrels). Her determination is admirable and her pride doesn’t allow her to break down in front of others except in one gentle moment when she asks her mother for guidance. Tough as she is, Ree endures a horrific experience at the end where she comes into contact with evidence that will prove her father’s death but leave a permanent void in her life. 4 out of 5 stars.
As at time of post, the movie has won the Grand Jury Prize at the 26th Sundance Film Festival and is up for four nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards including a Best Actress nomination for Jennifer Lawrence.