I’m going to come one Black Swan short of seeing all of the ten Best Picture nominees before Sunday’s Academy Awards. I just scratched #9 off the list by watching writer-director Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone on DVD.
This is certainly the bleakest film of the bunch. Set in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri, Winter’s Bone tells the tale of Ree Dolly, a tough 17-year-old girl raising her younger brother and sister on her own. Her meth-cooking father, Jessup, has left and her mother is an empty shell who sits in a chair and takes medication that does nothing to improve her nearly catatonic state.
One day “the law” shows up to inform Ree that her father has jumped bail after putting the family house up as collateral. If Jessup doesn’t show up for his hearing, their land will be taken away. So Ree sets out on a quest to find her father and save her family. In her way stands a wider circle of family — the hard, mean, drug-running inhabitants of the woods around her run-down farm.