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Movie Review: Winter's Bone

Alternate Title: What a Meth

Story: The Hatfield's and the McCoy's seem like kissing cousins compared to the feuding clans in this depressing, sad tale from the Missouri Ozarks. We find 17 year old Ree, taking care of her two younger siblings and her almost catatonic mother because her father, a convicted meth lab druggie has fled the coop. He has put up the family farm as bounty for his court date and never showed up. If young Ree does not find her father, they will be homeless. The law is after the absent father as are some scary competing druggies and a pissed off bounty hunter. Against all odds, brave Ree stands tall to save her siblings and mother.

Yes, this premise sounds like those crowd pleasing David Vs Goliath tales, but I found the film wanting. The characters generally are without any redeeming qualities (other than Ree) and it is hard to cheer when the odds are so very much against this young girl as she heads towards the poor, depressing, feral life that every other character on screen seems destined to live.The film was directed by Debra Granik and written by Ms. Granik and Anne Rosellini, this gray tale was based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell.

Should you see this dismal film that appears to be in black and white? It will probably roam around the Indie Art House circuit and then go to DVD. I have seen better films about the same subject - but it is worth two hours of your life? I think not.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE_X2pDRXyY

Acting: Jennifer Lawrence as Ree is the only sympathetic character and she does a fine job. The rest of the cast is fine (but scary) including: John Hawkes (Teardrop), Kevin Breznahan (Little Arthur), Dale Dickey (Merab), Garret Dillahunt (Sheriff Baskin), Sheryl Lee (April), Lauren Sweetser (Gail) and Tate Taylor (Satterfield).

Trivia: This film won the Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at this year's Sundance Festival.

Predilection: This got rave reviews and won some top awards at festivals so I was curious.

Critters: Many, many critters including chicks, horses, cows, birds and squirrels who also appear in the food category.

Food: The abovementioned squirrels and venison stew.

Sex Spectrum: No sex, just drugs.

Soundtrack: Interesting musical selection by Dickon Hinchliffe.

Opening Titles: A solo voice introducing the gray scenery and just the title. All other credits are at the end.

Visual Art: The film appears to be in many shades of gray with little color nor anything that is pleasing to the eye.

Theater Audience: About 30 other people and us.

Weather: Wintry and gray.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: I did not like the dressing of the recently shot squirrel. Very squirmy indeed.

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch often.

Predictability Level: I did not care what happened to most of these people.;

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours.