Winter's Bone (Debra Glanik, 2010)

What's it about? Set in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, 17-year-old Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) struggles to support her family, only to learn that they will be evicted from their ramshackle home unless her absent father turns up for a court appearance. So she sets out to find him, but the community she lives in, most of which Ree is distantly related to, resent her asking too many questions about her father's disappearance.

Is it any good? Well, it'll put you off ever visting the Ozarks, that's for sure. The depiction of a repressive, desolate community and the destructive impact of the widespread drug-related activities upon it hardly make for uplifting, heart-warming viewing, whilst the stark photography unflinchingly captures the rural poverty and the bleak landscape. Once you've fixed yourself some popcorn, though, the film is rather good, featuring two excellent Oscar-nominated performances from Lawrence and from John Hawkes as Ree's uncle. There's also a deliberately gothic, grim fairytale structure to it all as Ree's quest takes her deeper into dangerous territories. Alice in a Crystal Meth Wonderland, if you like. So it's worth seeing, just don't expect to feel happy afterwards.

I don't trust you. What do others think? Widespread critical acclaim, Oscar nominations and several awards, but for many movie-goers, it was just too bleak and slow-moving to win them over.

Anything else I should know? One thing more depressing than the setting is just how old Laura Palmer has got in the 20 years since Twin Peaks. That means I've got old too.

What does the Fonz think? The Hillbilly Sopranos.

Buy it on Amazon

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