An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. (IMDB)
Writer: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
Director: Debra Granik
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn
This movie is a slow process, the story is simple, and it’s a survival story. Ree, played by Jennifer Lawrence needs to find her meth-cooking Dad because he put her house up for bail, and then fled.
Ree is taking care of her mom, and younger siblings. Her mom lives life as a vegetable, haunted by the life that she has made for her and her children, and the fact that she married a drug addict (and possible wife beater). She is definitely not stepping up as head of the household after her husband is lost. That is Ree’s job.
She is doing everything she can as a young teenage woman. She is growing up fast and helping with everything from cooking, cleaning, splitting wood, as well as raising her 6 and 12 year old little sister and brother.
As Ree is looking for her lost father you would think it was a movie set in the 1950’s if there wasn’t a fairly new car every now and then.
She asks around town about her father. She starts with her uncle, Teardrop, played by academy award nominee John Hawkes. She then continues on to family members and locals that are her dad’s drug buddies. These conversations lead her nowhere.
The movie is engaging the whole time and although it is a slow movie to unfold, there are not too many scenes that jump out at you. However, it is a great story told the whole way through.
That being said, the one character that does stand out (other than Ree) is Teardrop. As the sheriff is looking into Teardrop’s eyes through the rearview mirror, John Hawkes does an amazing job without nearly any words to portray the feeling “I’m ready to die tonight, are you?” This scene cemented his best supporting actor Academy Award Nomination in my mind.
I don’t know if I would put this movie in my top ten, however, I can definitely understand why it was nominated. It is a lower budget film that is brilliantly written and doesn’t have the occasional light scene, or the sporadic action scene. It doesn’t even have a simple change of pace that you are used to when you go to the movies now days… I think that is a good and a bad thing… I recommend seeing it so you can decide for yourself.