Monday, February 25, 2013

Before Hunger Games and Silver Linings, Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence Was an Ozark Mountain Girl in the Female Driven Drama “Winter’s Bone”

Jennifer Lawrence really is a great actress, and her performance in “Silver Linings Playbook” is wonderful. Even in “The Hunger Games” she gives a quiet, reserved character so much emotion without even speaking. Without her that film would have been another young adult love saga.  My only issue with “The Hunger Games” is that the film created so many Jennifer Lawrence fans who, when posed with the question, “Have you seen Winter’s Bone?” respond with a look I’d imagine one would have if they were asked who the 23rd president was. Benjamin who? So, while I’m glad she’s being appreciated, I don’t believe if you’re over the age of 16, you should be able to call yourself a fan of hers until you’ve seen “Winter’s Bone.”

“Winter’s Bone” is a phenomenal movie about a young girl (Jennifer Lawrence) whose home is going to be taken away when her drug-dealer father fails to show up to court. She has to find him, dead or alive, in order to save her home and keep her younger siblings in her care. As I’ve said before, Jennifer Lawrence is great in this film but John Hawkes is also in this movie, and if you don’t know who he is I recommend finding out. He’s an outstanding actor who’s yet to receive the appreciation he deserves.

The film deals a lot with the stress of family and what one person will go through in order to keep the people they love safe. It’s not a nice film, it’s gritty and raw, but it has so much heart and a great depth of character.

There’s a long-standing belief that women only want to watch films that involve romance. So today it’s rare to come across a film with a female lead that doesn’t include a prince, charming or alarming, or some sort of heart-wrenching breakup. It’s not inaccurate to assume women are drawn to romance, because we are; for a lot of women dating is a big part of their lives. However, women are not one-dimensional. Just like men are not only interested in guns and explosions, women have their layers and should have more films that express them.

This film was directed by Debra Granik and written by Anna Rosellini based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell. “Winter’s Bone” not only goes against the norm in its female driven, non-romcom plot, but also by having a female director. Usually films of a violent nature are associated with men, even if a woman is the lead character. However, directors like Granik and Kathryn Bigelow are changing that. Bigelow especially is ever so modestly changing the industries view of women.

If you have Netflix Instant you can watch this film anytime, if you don’t I recommend finding a way to rent it. It’s not a great film made by women, it’s just a great film.

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