By: Meg Schmit
I watched Winter’s Bone for the first time last weekend. I had heard multiple people – professors and students alike – rave about this film, but I had never seen it, despite my admiration for Jennifer Lawrence. Knowing her acting style – genuine, strong, quiet – I knew Winter’s Bone had to embody some of this, since it is where she began her starlet career. I could not have been prepared for the true grit, however, that is Winter’s Bone.
Roger Ebert writes a candid review on the film, and much of it parallels my own response to the movie. It is painfully realistic, shot on location in the Ozarks and using little-to-unknown actors. The focus on the forgotten America brings back memories of stories my mom told of her own childhood in rural central Illinois, and highlights a white subculture often ignored in our own country. It is a tight-knit community based on blood ties, drug rings, and a twisted sense of loyalty.
Image from https://fictionmachine.com/2015/08/26/id-be-lost-without-the-weight-of-you-two-on-my-back-winters-bone-2008/
I loved the film. I loved seeing the gritty, unpolished, graphic displays of familial love, violence, and determination. It truly drew me into the backwoods of the Ozarks and gave me shivers several times seeing the dynamics of the community as they beat teenaged Ree for asking too many questions, and fished her dead dad’s body from the swamp and cut off his hands to keep a secret. This is definitely a film that blurs the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, and shows viewers that those two sides are not so easy to define.
So, if there was one word to describe Winter’s Bone – pun (slightly) intended – it would have to be chilling.