A 17 year old girl left to care for her family in dirt-poor rural Alabama goes in search of her absentee father when faced with the choice of either forcing him to appear before the court or losing their home.
Winter’s Bone, despite its detective story-style premise, has a flavour very much of a frontier western; take away the synthetic fabrics, pick-up trucks, indoor plumbing and narcotics of choice and you have a community whose life has probably remained pretty much unchanged in the last hundred years. It’s a portrait of the struggles of living below the poverty line in contemporary rural America as Jennifer Lawrence’s destitute but proud heroine explores the underbelly of her tightly knit but deeply dysfunctional extended family. It’s a stark, bleak and gritty drama full of characterful and completely believable performances set within a part of society rarely depicted outside of trailer trash stereotypes.
Tense, occasionally frightening and extremely well observed, Winter’s Bone is a serious drama that chooses substance over superficial flash and is all the more affecting and disturbing for it.