Winter’s Bone (2010) Debra Granik
I can’t believe I put off seeing this for so long. Although I knew it was a completely different film, I think that my brain weirdly associated this with The Lovely Bones, and convinced me not to watch it. Goddamn brain.
I thought that Winter’s Bone was very, very good, albeit perhaps somewhat Oscar-bait. Still, watching it so far after the fact, it’s easier to take on its own merits - wonderful acting, beautiful cinematography, solid storytelling.
Additionally, Winter’s Bone is the perfect counterpoint to Tiny Furniture, and the film I wayyy prefer. What follows are some annoying, pre-essay thoughts comparing the two, for my own notes, that you should in no way feel compelled to read.
Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in a world so completely diametrically opposed to that of Aura’s that it’s almost hard to believe that both worlds can seem so real and still co-exist. Ree’s world, the harsh mountains of the Ozarks, is completely devoid of privilege. Deep blood relations, rather than money and social engagements, connect the families.
Both worlds are ruled by codes, yet the codes that rule the world of Winter’s Bone are harsh, unforgiving, and can result in death. Ree breaks those codes out of a need for her family’s survival - she does business that her daddy should do, she talks to people she shouldn’t be talking to (while upholding the absolute rule of not talking to outsiders), and she breaks the boundaries in place for women’s behavior. With the luxury of not having to worry about survival, the codes of behavior in Aura’s art- and intellectual-based world encourage the breaking of social constructs.
Ree’s existence is about survival and doing what needs to be done to ensure the survival of her younger siblings and disabled mother. While she should be able to depend on her parents for the basic means of survival, she cannot - her father has abandoned them, leveraging the house for bail, and her mother is mentally disabled. She must rely on the food she can hunt and grow, as well as help from neighbors. While Ree must be completely self-sufficient, Aura depends on her mother for everything.
Blah blah blah, I don’t know how to end this, other than to say - watch them both, they both have merits, and if you stuck with this, I hope you enjoyed my quasi-intellectual ramblings.
#81 - 4/21/2012