Thanks for stopping by! If you like what you read, tell your friends! If you don't like what you read, tell your enemies! Either way, please post a comment, even if it's just to tell us how much we suck! (We're really needy!) You can even follow us @JasonBerner! Or don't! See if we care!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Boning Up

Don't you hate when you get to the end of a book or movie, and you feel like you've missed something? You feel like you should go back and rewatch (-read) the thing to see if there was some essential clue along the way that you didn't pay sufficient attention to. Unless, of course, you don't really care, in which case it's not that big a problem. Such was the case with "Winter's Bone."

Academy-Award-nominated "Winter's Bone" tells the story of Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence, a Best Actress nominee), a 17-year-old girl in the Ozarks, who needs to find her deadbeat dad, Jessup. Jessup is out on bail, having been arrested for cooking meth. He has an impending court date, and, at the beginning of the movie, Ree finds out that Jessup has put the family's house and land up as collateral; thus, if he doesn't make it to court, the family loses what little they have. Ree sets out on a quest to find Jessup.

The first half of the movie feels like an Ozark Odyssey, as Ree journeys from house to house, visiting people (all of whom she is related to in one way or another) who may know something of Jessup's whereabouts. At each house, she is invariably told to drop it. Of course, she can't. As she gets cl0ser to unraveling the "mystery" of what happened to her father (which frankly doesn't seem like much of a mystery), she finds herself in greater and greater danger.

If it's any indication of the interest-level of this movie, we found ourselves thinking of the film as an interesting anthropological dramatization: We noted that, at each house Ree visits, a sort of ritual is enacted: First, the women-folk come out to size up the visitor; if the women decide Ree's purpose is valid, she will be allowed into the presence of the men-folk; if not, she is expected to leave or suffer the consequences. We also learned that mountain-folk eat squirrel and are introduced to guns at a young age. Who knew?

The movie also features an Academy-Award nominated performance by John Hawkes as Teardrop, Ree's uncle. His is an interesting character, first acting as a barrier to Ree's quest, but ultimately feeling that the bonds of family are more important than the rules of society (so maybe we should see the movie as a sort of "Antigone" story?).

But getting back to what we were saying at the beginning of today's post: At the end of the film, we are left with two questions: One: Who put up the money to help bail out Jessup, his land not being sufficient collateral; and two. . . . Well, we won't ask the second one, as it may be considered a spoiler, although the answer to the two questions may be the same. We suspect that the answers are there--Teardrop certainly seems to know the answers at the end--but this viewer, again, feels like he missed something. If members of the Nation have seen--or see--"Winter's Bone," let's comapre notes.

And while we're at it, we can discuss why the movie is called "Winter's Bone."


  1. I haven't seen it and I don't want to see it. It would be too much like going to a family reunion.

  2. This film, along with what is rapidly becoming a sub-genre of its own like TV's "Justified", "Raising Hope", "My Name is Earl", seem to dwell in the belief (Republican Right to the core) that there is a nobility in Stupid. It's much the same as the old "Noble Indian" characters of the 40s-60s. The idea, seemingly, being: If we tell them we respect them "as they are" (they aren't, but the film-makers PERCEIVE them this way!) they'll stop trying to educate themselves and leave us alone to exploit them. It didn't work then and, Sarah/Michelle aside, it probably won't work now. I hope, I hope, I hope.
    Oh, and as any fool knows, "Winter's Bone" is a euphemism for Summer's Tendon.

  3. In fairness to the "Winter's Bone" characters, they're not actually "stupid." Uneducated and meth-addicted, perhaps, but not stupid.