DRAMA; 1hr 40min
STARRING: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes
Trigger point: from left, Ashlee Thompson, Lawrence and Isaiah Stone
It’s a mercy that not a lot fazes 17-year-old Ree (Lawrence) because she’s up against a world of strife. Ree lives in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri in the kind of bare-bones community where everyone has a mutt or two and sofas sit empty on cluttered front porches. The houses are little more than shacks but when you’re caring for your younger brother and sister and your mentally absent mother, your house is all you have. Threatened with the loss of hers if her absent father fails to show for a court date, Ree goes looking for him, with painful results.
Director Debra Granik keeps her adaptation of Daniel Woodrell’s 2006 novel so real you can taste the collective struggle. It’s there in the pitiless cold and the coiled threat of violence that have pinched themselves into sullen faces. Ree’s face is still unlined, with the look of a young Renée Zellweger. But she is by no means untouched — there’s a weary weight to Lawrence’s wound-down performance that no teenager should know.