IMDB Link: tt1399683
Director/Writer: Debra Granik
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt
17 year old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is left to take care of her sick mother and her little brother and sister while her father, a criminal, is missing. Her father has put the family’s little house up for bail, and if she can’t find him, they are going to lose it very soon. Ree is already fighting to make ends meet in a small backwards and criminal community in rural USA, and she must track down her father so he can save their house. To do so, she has to follow his track through the community of thugs starting with her uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes).
It is a beautiful film, but also distressing. It lets us experience the struggle of those who have nothing, and the seeming futility of their everyday life. It is also a story about a brave and desperate young girl who find herself forced to make grown up decisions on her own without any help from her sick mother. Decisions that will determine the future of her little brother and sister as well as her own. We learn that she is willing to sacrifice much for her family when she just as easily could have given up and ran away.
The film is well made and convincingly depict a run down and depressed community where no one seem to have anything better to do but to make life pass by – by way of drugs and alcohol. Not even the law seems too eager to risk their mundane existence by getting into too much trouble or making too much of an effort. Still, at the end, she finds some goodness in people where she didn’t expect any.
The majority of the characters in this film are female, and we follow Ree as she seeks them out for help. It passes the Bechdel test with flying colours. Which is refreshing. I really enjoyed this film. Well worth watching on a slow Sunday afternoon.