Box art for Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone

drama, thrillers

An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
1 out of 5
3 out of 5

Strong teen girl character drives grim but superb drama.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Winter's Bone -- a grim drama about a brave, resourceful 17-year-old heroine -- is not overly violent, but has a constant, simmering promise of violence, with lots of guns and threats, even toward children. Drugs and smoking are ever-present, if not always seen onscreen, since the action is set in a drug-making community. There is strong, but not constant language, including multiple uses of "s--t" and a few uses of "f--k." Aside from the gloomy tone, however, the character of Ree is incredibly admirable, and the importance of family becomes a strong theme.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the character of Ree. She's different from the teen characters often seen in movies -- how? Do you think her character is more or less realistic than the teens portrayed in big Hollywood movies? Do you have a preference for this grittier character, or do you prefer the fantasy of glamour that many movies offer?
  • Ree's community is filled with smoking and drugs and the threat of violence. How are the movie's portrayals of drugs and violence different or similar to the way they show up in other movies? Was the drug use glamorized? Did it look like these characters led appealing lifestyles? Did you recognize anything from real life in this movie?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 29
    see all Winter's Bone reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: With Winter's Bone, Granik has morphed from a director worth watching to one who demands our undivided attention. She's got mine.

- Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, June 25, 2010

Fresh: Winter's Bone is a genuine triumph, a great movie with astounding performances so natural, so genuine, that you forget it's a movie.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Friday, July 23, 2010

Fresh: A masterpiece of sparseness.

- Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News, Friday, June 25, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

"But I can't forever carry them kids and my mom, not without that house." Winter's Bone is a stark, almost documentary-like movie about a poor teenage girl named Ree in the Ozarks who supports her near-catatonic mother and two younger siblings during her meth-cooking father's many brushes with the law. When he disappears before a court date and the family's home is at risk if he doesn't show up, Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) investigates amongst the locals to find out where he might be. But, some people don't like the questions she's asking, and her life may be at risk, along with her family home. The plain, unobtrusive way that the camera observes events really helped draw me into the movie, to the point where I honestly forgot that I was watching a movie, at all. This effect was heightened by some excellent performances; especially from Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes (Teardrop). Lawrence had a star-making (and award worthy) performance, in my opinion. Ree is probably my favorite movie character of the year (well, perhaps next to Hit Girl), and Lawrence plays her with a realism and stubborn toughness that makes you believe that this seventeen year-old girl wouldn't wilt under the kind of circumstances that would overwhelm most adults. Her love for her family seems completely genuine, and there's never a word or a glance where she seems like she's "acting". It's all very natural, and I was beyond impressed. The plot was quite tense and engrossing, as Ree pursues the mystery of where her father is with a dogged intensity, despite the fact that it leads her into some very dangerous (and violent) situations. The sparse, beautiful winter settings are a perfect backdrop for the story. It's been a while since I've seen a movie that does as good a job as this one in communicating a sense of place. Winter's Bone may not be for everyone, though. There are no shoot-outs or florid romantic scenes. The moments of happiness are small, fleeting, and poignant; like a gift of generosity from a neighbor who knows you're in need, or the quiet assurances of an older sister her younger siblings. In Winter's Bone, our world is never in danger...but one family's certainly is. I liked it the movie the first time around, liked it even more the second, and heartily recommend it, if you're interested.

- lewiskendell, Sunday, November 14, 2010

5 stars

An Unparalleled visceral experience. "WINTER'S BONE" sucks you into it's story and landscape like few other films can, and for the film's entirety, you never leave it's grasp. Even two days after viewing it, the film still has it's hooks in me. A complete masterpiece and completely unforgettable. Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes are award worthy. One of the best films of 2010.

- YLOWBSTARDreturns, Tuesday, November 9, 2010

4 stars

"Ain't you got no men that can do this?" An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. REVIEW Winter's Bone is as quiet and insidious as a stem cell carcinoma. Based on the successful novel by author Daniel Woodrell who explains the choice of title explain at the back of his book: "The 'Winter's' part of the title is obvious, and the 'Bone' part comes from slang. It can be stated wryly, sarcastically, even tenderly, when throwing a sop to someone, 'Oh, give him a bone.' In this case, it is winter itself giving a gift, a bone, to Ree Dolly. The season knows she has earned it, and the term suggests the double-edged aspect of the gesture and is suited to the novel," writer Anne Rosellini and writer/director Debra Granik have adapted this story for film and in doing so have presented one of the finest artistic successes of the year. The setting is contemporary Missouri Ozarks where people barely survive, especially during the winter. Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence in a stunningly sophisticated performance) is seventeen years old, living in a shack with her clinically depressed mother and her brother and sister: her father Jessup is missing, having been arrested for his dealings in making Crank (crystal meth) - the only source of income for many of the folk in the area, folk who also are users - and posted bail using his house and land as collateral. Ree has a tough time as the only responsible person for her family and when the local sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) visits to inform Ree that Jessup has skipped town and that if he doesn't show up for his court date, Ree's home and land will be absconded, Ree is devastated. Ree seeks advice from her many relatives who adamantly refuse to help her out of fear of discovery of involvement in the drug business: Ree sets out to find her father. She turns to every member of her family (it would seem that most everyone in this pitiful area is blood) she is turned down for help - especially from her father's brother Teardrop (John Hawkes) who hesitantly warns her that her father is dead. She finally gains some assistance through her perseverance only to discover that that Jessup is dead and she is forced to dredge his body from the river to cut off his hands to prove to the court that her father is dead and the threat of evacuation is nullified. The casting of this film is a little miracle: down to the smallest role each actor is exactly right in creating the sullen and desperate atmosphere of this story. There are rare moments when the tale is not grim, moments such as the gathering of banjo and guitar players in a Pickin' Session to accompanying the singing of a Marideth Sisco. The cinematography by Michael McDonough and the musical choices made by Dickon Hinchliffe recreate the desolation of this pitiful community of people living on the edge in the Ozarks. But towering above all of this is the performance by Jennifer Lawrence who will undoubtedly now rise to prominence.

- mrpopcorn, Saturday, November 6, 2010