Hillbilly is a word with many connotations. For Americans, it conjures up visions of self-reliant folks living in the Ozark or Appalachian mountains. Sometimes, marrying adolescent cousins. Often, distilling illegal booze and settling disputes between Celtic-style clans with maximum violence and minimum outside interference.
Such stereotypes contain truths and also exaggerations. Yet, hillbillies aren't mythological creatures, nor have they become extinct but simply evolved. Winter's Bone is a film about contemporary hillbillies. I don't know how they could have made this movie any better - other than getting Daisy Duke to sit on my lap and watch it with me.
According to the storyline, Jennifer Lawrence is a teen caring for her brother, her sister and a vegetative mother. She stands to lose the family homestead, if her drug-cooking father jumps bail on his latest court appearance. John Hawkes is a reclusive uncle, who reluctantly joins her hunt for good-old-dad amongst tight-lipped, loose-triggered kin.
Superb acting makes an on-the-edge story surprisingly believable, plus the typical let-down of a crazy movie-ending never happens here. Why don't they make more films like Winter's Bone? Perhaps, it's too much to expect, but I wish Hollywood would throw this dawg a Winter's Bone more often. Female readers desiring a winter's bone more often need only to ask.