Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Winter's Bone"

Forever drawn by an interest in the region that has become my own, I went to see the film "Winter's Bone" today, which takes place somewhere in rural Missouri not far from the Arkansas line. It may have been the saddest movie I've ever seen. No matter how much you try to walk out of a movie telling yourself it's just fiction, just a story, that's just not possible here.

This movie, which tells the story of a 17-year-old girl intent on keeping her family together as they fight a life of profound poverty deep in the Ozarks, is unquestionably somebody's reality. For that, it can't -- and shouldn't -- easily be forgotten. This was the same impression with which I left "Precious." I hadn't wanted to see it, told myself it'd be too much pain and heartbreak to watch, but in the end, endured it because somebody needs to bring these things to light. We can't shield ourselves from the world's bitter realities, just because we don't see these things in our own daily existence.

At the heart of "Winter's Bone" is a man who can't answer for his own misdeeds, so his child must do so for him. Though the rest of the extended family seems shrouded in secrets and unafraid of using violence to keep them, Ree, the main character, has grown hard and tough enough to repeatedly put her own life in danger as she searches for the truth. Her mother seems lost in her own depression, her sister and brother are too young to fend for themselves, and her only confidant is a girl close to her age, with a baby and recently married to a man she's at least somewhat afraid of. There are undertones of gender inequalities throughout the movie -- and I'm not talking about women angry they don't earn the same pay as their male counterparts -- a reminder that even today, there are places not too far from our own homes where women fear the men in their midst, and men consider women to be weak and defenseless.

This movie's going to be a hard one to shake.

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1 comment:

  1. It is also important to note that this was the opening night feature of
    The Little Rock Film Festival!