Winter's Bone (2010)
Ree is only seventeen, but she's already negotiating a very complex world of family dysfunctions and social mores of her extended cultural clan. Winter's Bone is set in the isolated Ozark mountains of southwest Missouri, and it's safe to say that it depicts a part of America that most of us can hardly even imagine, much less say that we know. This is a place where after school activities include ROTC drills and parenting class. Ree's drug dealer father ("he cooks crank") left his wife and three kids, and then, unknown to them, used their dilapidated property as collateral for his bond payment. Ree's mother is a sullen and silent pill-popper, while her two younger siblings depend upon her for everything. Ree is faced with a horrible choice — to lose the only meager hope of life they have (the house), find and then betray her father to the law, and/or violate every cultural code of clan silence and so risk horrible retribution. The dialects, the scenes of backwoods and backwards families, the local ballads, and the remarkable performances not only by Jennifer Lawrence as Ree, but also by a dozen or so minor characters (some non-professionals) all add up to a fantastic film that already has the Oscar buzz.