Faced with an unresponsive mother and a criminal father, Ozark teenager Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) does what she can to manage the household and take care of her two younger siblings. Informed by the sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) that their father put their home up for bond and then disappeared, Ree sets out on a dangerous quest to find him. Her entire familys fate now in her hands, Ree challenges her outlaw kins code of silence and risks her life to learn her fathers fate.
Winters Bone is a 2010 American independent drama film, an adaptation of Daniel Woodrells 2006 novel of the same name. Written and directed by Debra Granik, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence as a teenaged girl in the rural Ozarks of the central United States who, to protect her family from eviction, must locate her missing father. The film explores the interrelated themes of close and distant family ties, the power and speed of gossip, self-sufficiency, and poverty as they are changed by the pervasive underworld of illegal methamphetamine labs.
Winters Bone won several awards including the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Film at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It also received four 2011 Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
17 year-old Ree Dolly sets out to track down her father, who put their house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. If she fails, Ree and her family will be turned out into the Ozark woods. Challenging her outlaw kin's code of silence and risking her life, Ree hacks through the lies, evasions and threats offered up by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth.
Seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) looks after her mentally ill mother, her twelve-year-old brother Sonny (Isaiah Stone), and her six-year-old sister Ashlee (Ashlee Thompson). Every day, Ree makes sure her siblings eat, while teaching them basic survival skills like hunting and cooking. The family is very poor. Rees father, Jessup, has not been home for a long time; and his whereabouts are unknown. He is out on bail following an arrest for manufacturing methamphetamine.
Sheriff Baskin (Garret Dillahunt) tells Ree that, if her father does not show up for his court date, they will lose the house because it was put up as part of his bond. Ree sets out to find her father, following his trail into a world where meth use is common, violence is frequent, and people are bound by codes of loyalty and secrecy. She starts with her meth-addicted uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes) and continues on to more distant kin, eventually trying to talk to the local crime boss, Thump Milton (Ronnie Hall). Milton refuses to see her; the only information Ree comes up with are warnings to leave the situation alone and stories that Jessup died in a meth lab fire or skipped town to avoid the trial.
When Jessup fails to appear for the trial, the bondsman comes looking for him and tells Ree that she will have about a week before the house and land are seized. Ree tells him that Jessup must be dead, because "Dollys dont run". He tells her that she will need to provide proof that her father is dead in order to avoid the bond being forfeited.
Ree tries to go to see Milton again and is severely beaten by the women of his family. Teardrop shows up and rescues Ree, promising her attackers that she will not say anything or cause any more trouble. Teardrop tells Ree that her father was killed because he was going to inform on other meth cookers, but he does not know who killed him; he warns her that if she ever finds out who did, she must not tell him because he would kill that person.
A few nights later, the same three Milton women who beat Ree come to her house. They offer to take her to "[her] daddys bones". The women place a burlap sack on her head and drive her to a pond, where they get into a rowboat and row to the shallow place where her fathers submerged body lies. They tell Ree to reach into the freezing water and grasp her fathers hands so they can cut them off with a chainsaw; the severed, decaying arms will serve as proof of death for the authorities. Ree takes the hands to the sheriff, telling him that someone flung them onto the porch of her house.
The bondsman comes back to the house and gives Ree the cash portion of the bond, which was put up by an anonymous associate of Jessup. Ree tries to give Jessups banjo to Teardrop, but he tells her to keep it at the house for him. As he is leaving, he tells her that he now knows who killed her father. Ree reassures Sonny and Ashlee that she will not ever leave them, regardless of the money she just received.Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly
John Hawkes as Teardrop Dolly
Lauren Sweetser as Gail
Garret Dillahunt as Sheriff Baskin
Dale Dickey as Merab
Shelley Waggener as Sonya
Kevin Breznahan as Little Arthur
Ashlee Thompson as Ashlee Dolly
Tate Taylor as Satterfield
Sheryl Lee as April
Cody Shiloh Brown as Floyd
Isaiah Stone as Sonny Dolly
Winters Bone received widespread critical acclaim, with Jennifer Lawrences performance being universally lauded. The film has a "certified fresh" score of 94% on Rotten tomatoes based on 161 reviews with an average score of 8.3 out of 10. The critical consensus states "Bleak, haunting, and yet still somehow hopeful, Winters Bone is writer-director Debra Graniks best work yet and it boasts an incredible, starmaking performance from Jennifer Lawrence." The film also has a score of 90 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 38 critics indicating "universal acclaim".
Roger Ebert gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, praising Lawrences steely "hope and courage" that remains optimistic despite her tribulations, and calling attention to Graniks direction that avoids passing moral judgement on the characters or descending into stereotypes. Reviewer Peter Travers found the film "unforgettable", writing in Rolling Stone, "Granik handles this volatile, borderline horrific material with unblinking ferocity and feeling.... In Lawrence, Granik has found just the right young actress to inhabit Ree. Her performance is more than acting, its a gathering storm." Critic James Berardinelli said that "Winters Bone is a welcome reminder that thrillers dont have to be loud and boisterous to grab the attention and keep it captive." David Edelstein wrote in New York magazine, "For all the horror, it’s the drive toward life, not the decay, that lingers in the mind. As a modern heroine, Ree Dolly has no peer, and Winter’s Bone is the year’s most stirring film." New Yorker critic David Denby called Winters Bone "one of the great feminist works in film." The A.V. Club put the film at No. 1 on their list of the best movies of the year.
Winters Bone debuted in cinemas on June 11 2010 in a Limited release in 4 theaters and grossed "a hearty" $84,797, with an average of $21,199 per theater and ranking #35 at the box office. The film’s subsequent outing and expansion to 39 theaters earned $351,317, with an average of $9,008 per theater. The films distributors Roadside Attractions aimed, concurrently with New York, Los Angeles and Boston, at "heartland cities" such as Minneapolis, Overland Park, St. Louis, Springfield, Dallas and Denver, which eventually all attracted significant audiences, surpassing New Yorks. According to the distributor, "the filmmakers had always wanted to deliver the movie to the people who helped them make it." The film was in cinemas for over 45 weeks and ultimately earned $6,531,503 domestically and $7,300,000 internationally for a total of $13,831,503, above its $2 million budget.
Debra Granik directed Winter’s Bone and Down to the Bone. Precious (2009). Brick (2006). Jennifer Lawrence appears in Winter’s Bone and Like Crazy. Boyhood (2014).
The film won the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Film and the Best Screenplay Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It also received two awards at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival in Germany and at the 2010 Stockholm International Film Festival, it won the awards for Best Film, Best Actress (Lawrence) and the Fipresci Prize.
Winters Bone also won Best Feature and Best Ensemble Performance at the 2010 Gotham Awards and it earned seven nominations at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress.