PMag Movie Club: Winter’s Bone

This week’s movie club selection was Winter’s Bone. Holy crap was that dark.

Theatrical poster for Winter's BoneI went into this not knowing much about the movie other than that it had been nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Jennifer Lawrence as Best Actress. And now I understand why. It was one of the saddest movies I’ve seen in ages, and I was nervous pretty much the whole time. With most movies you have a pretty good idea how they’re going to turn out, or at least you know what you want to have happen. This time, there was really no way they were going to get a happy ending, so it was hard to decide just how I wanted things to turn out. In the end, I guess they got the best resolution possible, but it was still heartbreaking. Damn. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing as Ree (and there are definite parallels between this character and Katniss in The Hunger Games; I can totally see why they cast her).

I’m still trying to process the movie, so I’ll leave the discussion pretty open. There’s a lot to talk about, but my brain just isn’t letting me form coherent questions.

Also, we had planned to have a crossover with the book club this weekend, but the lovely Slay Belle had something come up unexpectedly and I was swamped and didn’t actually have a chance to read it. If any of y’all read it and would like to discuss, just go ahead and comment on this post as well. The movie club will meet next on September 7, when we’ll be discussing Whale Rider. I absolutely loved that movie when I first saw it years ago and can’t wait to see it again!

By [E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

3 replies on “PMag Movie Club: Winter’s Bone”

I’m still trying to process the movie


For me, Winter’s Bone was one of those movies which I kept thinking about, and which I can still remember very clearly. Have to agree on the Hunger Games point, too – can very much see why Lawrence was cast as Katniss. One of the points I kept coming back to was the reminder that this was of life exists, but that the reminder was without any Hollywood glamourising. And also that focus of family in a difficult situation. Oh, I don’t know. I’ve found it very difficult to articulate how I feel about this film, but I’m so, so glad I saw it.

I watched this with my sister yesterday and what struck us was how accurate the details of the set were. Like how the houses interiors and yards rang true to our own experiences with the cluttered fridge door and junk in the yards. My sister was also surprised to think that there are people in America who would be that close to losing everything she hadn’t really thought about that before.She just assumed everyone knew about all the gov programs you could supposedly get and I explained how/why that might not be an option and how not everyone knows of those programs or how to get them. It opened up a good discussion between us so I’m glad we watched it together.

I loved this movie. I’m mostly stick to feel-good movies, but something about this film really moved me. I grew up in a different part of the country but with a similar vibe. “Meth lab country” is what my friends and I would jokingly/disgustingly call it. There was a bit of “We hate this place” mixed with “It’s our home, though” to the comment. I also have some personal experience in my family that is almost too similar to Ree’s family. This hit too close to home in a way and I told my sister to skip it if she didn’t want to feel things.

I think most people would watch this and think that all these people are horrible people. But I watch this and I see people with a completely different set of moral values. They aren’t great people, but neither are they the monsters most people see, in my opinion. Their set of values are just so, so different that it’s difficult to even try to understand them if you haven’t spent time in a community like that. It’s regressive – almost archaic, and having been on both of the fence I infinitely prefer to see the world through the moral compass that most people do. It’s probably why I was so religious as a teenager. Being fundie was a form a rebellion.

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