Winter's Bone (2010) - Granik
Wow, not one false note: from its acting, script to HD cinematography. It's not the authenticity of what the people of the Ozarks are like that I loved, since I have only a blurry notion and won't pretend here that I know and understand, yet these poverty stricken, meth ravaged, unfathomably tough characters ring so true to me.
Jennifer Lawrence is Ree, a 17 year old girl who needs to take care of two younger siblings and sick mother in the absence of her unseen meths 'cooker' father. It turns out daddy's out of jail and a bail bondsman and other people are after him. If he doesn't make the court date, they will take the house. It is widely suspected that local bigwig family might have killed her dad for some old grudges. Unflinching against all the poverty and violence around her, resilient and resourceful Ree is a revelation. John Hawks shines (second best performance in the film) as Teardrop, Ree's scary uncle, and aging but well fitting Sheryl Lee also makes an appearance.
Debra Granik's depiction of the Ozarks is never patronizing nor sentimental. Winter's Bone is filled with the lives of the locals in great detail and presented with great care, nothing seems out of place. Definitely one of the year's better films for me if not the best.