Winter’s Bone – 8

The milieu is the costar of this story of a heroic 17-year-old girl’s fight to save her family’s home from the bail bondsman. It’s remarkable that director Debra Granik could find so many scrungy-looking hillbillies who could act so naturally. The people live by their own moral code, but they also raise livestock, cook, sing country music and have convincing lives while cooking meth in the background. Jennifer Lawrence is simply sensational as the heroine. Her role is eerily reminiscent of Melissa Leo’s in Frozen River. This movie is just as bleak: it may have been filmed in color, but all my images from it are strictly black-and-white. Maybe this depiction of the deep Ozarks is not as real as it seemed. Then again, I wouldn’t have believed that Senatorial candidates in Mississippi this month (or is it gubernatorial candidates in Alabama?) have had to swear their belief in the literal truth of the Bible.

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