Jennifer Lawrence is, without a doubt, a major star in Hollywood right now, so it is easy to forget sometimes that she has only really been around for a few years. In fact, her major breakout role was only five years ago in "Winter's Bone".
Lawrence stars as Ree Dolly, a seventeen year old girl who is put into the position of caring for her mentally ill mother, as well as her twelve year old brother and six year old sister, while her Meth dealing father has not been seen in weeks. Ree wants to join the army, but is unable to bring her family with her, so she is trapped at home, caring for them best she can, and relying heavily on her neighbours for the food they need.
Ree's situation becomes even more bleak when the sheriff arrives at her door and tells her that her father is missing, and has put up the family house for collateral to his bail. He tells her that if she cannot locate her father in a week, they will be forced out of the house. Ree sets off on an investigation around the community, trying desperately to discover her father's whereabouts, and whether or not he is even alive any more. However, she soon finds out that there are some people in the area that do not want Ree's father found, and they will do anything they must to stop her discovering the truth.
Jennifer Lawrence brings her best to this film, it is no wonder that she broke out into the world of blockbusters after this. Her portrayal of a woman desperately trying to hold herself up against the trials the world is throwing in her way, without anyone to guide her, is simply amazing. I've been impressed with her performances in the X-Men films and the Hunger Games, but this was something entirely different. There were no big special effects in this film, the story revolved around Ree. Lawrence carried this film on her young shoulders, at the age of nineteen, and did it perfectly, earning a nomination for best actress in the process. She actually learned to skin squirrels, chop wood and fight for this role. The film was the lowest grossing film ever to be nominated for the best picture Oscar. Lawrence is joined by John Hawkes (Lincoln, Contagion) as Teardrop, Ree's uncle, who struggles with his personal demons while saving Ree from the dangers surrounding her. I've not seen Hawkes in much, but he played a strong role here, and shone beside Lawrence.
Is Winter's Bone a great film? I think so, it depends on what you enjoy. It was certainly different to the usual film you find on Netflix, and it was a fascinating look at the hard life people lead, even when people surrounding them have the ability to help. It's definitely worth a watch, and I recommend it to any Netflix users or Hunger Games lovers. And for non-Netflix users, I recommend you get Netflix!