a few weeks back, i had the unexpected pleasure of seeing a small film that was a big surprise. it’s an independent effort made in southern missouri. a small story with a big impact- at least on me. the tale is distinctly american. a local southern ozark girl is running the household she lives in. she’s 17 and she is the main caretaker for her younger sister and brother as well as a mother that has checked out from life from all we can tell. the mother’s still living, but has emotionally vanished from the responsibility pool. her father, a career meth cooker, has been in and out of prison/jail and is currently out on bond. our heroine is completely at home in this environment- it’s all she knows, but she hasn’t fallen pray to it’s lifestyle. she remains focused and sober, coveting dreams of her own. a sheriff stops by to inform our heroine that her beloved daddy has put the house she and her family are living in up for bond, and if he doesn’t show for court, they will be homeless.
this sets the stage for her search to find her father and talk some sense into him. after all, she has been diligently and dutifully taking care of the family, leaving him to pursue the work of his dreams. she too though, has dreams of her own. she wants to join the army and get a break from the uninvited burden of raising a family. besides, she wants to get as far from the poverty ridden ozarks as she possibly can.
this lead-in starts the journey of the daughter visiting the local mountain community- all seeped in the meth culture. relatives, friends, and strangers all carry a distinct local flavor and the film has an undeniably intimate and local vibe. my senses felt caressed and nourished after watching this film. the sets are as barren and bleak as a dry mountain winter’s day. there are no special effects besides the quiet that two actors speaking no lines can produce.
do yourself a favor… make a decided effort to see this film… chilling story… quietly vast performances…. winter’s bone… directed by debra granik