The Oscars “Best Picture” candidates: Winter’s Bone

Based on a novel of the same name, Winter’s Bone tells the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who is searching for her missing father.

The main character, Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is a homemaker for her younger brother and sister. Her mother sits useless all day, mentally absent. Her father, who was jailed for cooking meth, is missing. She tries to raise the kids and feed them, scraping along on welfare and the kindness of neighbors. The children are cheerful and energetic since they have not yet learned they are disadvantaged.

Everyday is like the previous, until the sheriff comes to report that Ree’s father Jessup has skipped bail. If he doesn’t turn himself in within a week, the family will be thrown out of their house.

“I’ll find him,” Ree says quietly and firmly. And that’s what she sets out to do.

Newcomer Jennifer Lawrence who earned a Lead Actress Oscar nomination plays Ree. She already has two big movies set for the future in Jodie Foster’s directorial debut The Beaver in May 2011 and X-Men: First Class set to release June 2011.

Everyone in the district knows that Jessup cooks methamphetamine. He is a modern moonshiner. What’s obvious is that meth has made him very little money.

Ree’s travels in search of her father lead her to his brother, Teardrop (John Hawkes) whose existence inflicts a wound on the gift of being alive. Hawkes also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

As Ree finds herself encountering one character after another, the screenwriter (Debra Granik) is able to focus on each one’s humanity, which is what makes this movie the realistic journey that it is.

Ree counter-balanced by Teardrop, who is aggressive with his hatefulness, bring together a heart-filled yet dangerous adventure about a teenage girl, trying to raise her family all alone leaving the audience with the message that in every bad situation, there are usually a few good people.