An eerie, supremely dark travelogue through the Ozarks, Winter’s Bone captures one’s attention and refuses to let go, forcing one to endure a journey of character unlike any other. Steadfast Main Character Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) stands up to unbelievably harsh treatment from in-bred neighbors and twisted acquaintances on her quest to find evidence of her missing father’s whereabouts. Suffering from her status as a Dolly, “Bread and buttered” as she puts it, Ree finds refuge in the tentative support from her father’s intense brother, Teardrop (John Hawkes). The two develop an unlikely relationship, one that organically leads to Teardrop’s eventual, yet extremely subtle Change of character. In fact, this change is so naturally presented, so artfully accomplished, that it might even go unnoticed. Still, it is there and provides the film with much of its meaning.
There are some odd inexplicable motivation changes here and there. Characters change their minds off-screen and suddenly arrive at Dolly’s side ready to help with little more than a sentence or two to explain why. Not sure why so many seem willing to look past these convenient plot changes, but the organic dialogue and unbelievably powerful end to Ree’s quest might have something to do with it.