Winter's Bone

Out Now On-Demand

Missouri-set drama-thriller, the big winner at Sundance Film Festival 2010. 

"In the harsh backwoods of Missouri, 17-year-old Ree (Jennifer Lawrence), smart beyond her years, takes care of her incapacitated mother and her younger brother and sister. When her crystal-meth-cooking father puts up the house for bail, she sets out to find him to ensure that he shows up in court. At every house she visits she’s stone-walled by some woman on the porch fronting for some guy inside. Her determination to uncover the truth behind her father’s disappearance only increases, inseparable from her determination to deliver her young siblings from the bleak expectations of their impoverished, drug-raddled kin." (NZ International Film Festival 2010)



Grand Jury Prize and Screenwriting Award winner at Sundance Film Festival 2010.

Directed by

Written by

Drama, Thriller


Rating: MA15+


Official Site

Winter’s Bone is an absorbing mystery-thriller set in the wintery backwoods of Missouri, a landscape of decay, dead colours, skeletal trees, threatening clouds, mangy dogs, rotten shacks and yards filled with junk.

Winter blankets the film, whether in the literal sense or the thematic – the mournful, bleak, encompassing gloom in which these people exist. Our torch to guide us through this murk is 17-year-old Ree, played by Jennifer Laurence. There is nothing flashy about Laurence’s performance but her quiet strength, optimism and perseverance are the heart of the film. She is a living embodiment of hope for this rotting corpse of rural America. The titular bone, one would assume.

Leaving aside the abstract concerns of Winter’s Bone, there is more tangible pleasure to be found in the ‘country noir’ thriller aspect of its plot. These spooky woods are a dangerous setting – here we find desperate, brain-dead trailer-trash, with moral centres as hollow as the burnt out shacks of their meth misadventures. Yee-haw. Squirrel-eatin’ hillbillies, with missing teeth, flannel shirts, cowboy hats and a chest full of ‘nam medals. It almost seems a bit too easy; there’s a short-hand applied, a broad stereotype that works at odds with the nuanced characterisation of the leads.

But once the mystery of the plot begins unwinding, you’ll want to know what happens and you’ll be absorbed until the very end. Where is Ree’s father? Will he show up before the important trial? The conclusion proves genuinely unnerving; just one step further into the haunting winter of Ree’s existence.

Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)


The movie heroes who affect me most are not extroverted. They don't strut, speechify and lead armies. They have no superpowers. They are ordinary people who are faced with a need and rise to the occasion. Ree Dolly is such a hero.

Dominion Post (Graeme Tuckett)


It is wrenching and unashamed drama of the very best kind. Look for it as the darkest of dark horses at the Oscars. But in the meantime, just go to see it. This might just be the finest drama of the year so far

Empire (UK)


A vivid reworking of Daniel Woodrell's novel that brings the book's conflicted heroine to searing life in a piece of unhurried filmmaking too rarely seen these days.

Hollywood Reporter


Grim backwoods tale takes its time building momentum.

Los Angeles Times


Intense, immersive and in control, Winter's Bone has an art house soul inside a B picture body, and that proves to be a potent combination indeed.

New York Times


The film's realism is a point of entry rather than the whole point of the exercise. Its setting is finally subordinate to the main character, as memorable and vivid a heroine as you are likely to see on screen this season.

NZ Herald (Peter Calder)


An ice-blue cold seeps from almost every frame of this adaptation of Daniel Woodrell's 2006 novel.

San Francisco Chronicle


This is one helluva drama, with one helluva star turn by Jennifer Lawrence as Ree.

Variety (USA)


Raw but utterly enveloping.

Winter's Bone Review

There were only two Best Picture Oscar nominees from last year that I didn't manage to see in theatres, so today I decided to catch up on one of them, Winter's Bone (The other one being The Kids Are All Right). Winter's Bone was something of a sensation on the festival circuit last year following it's debut at Sundance last year, scooping a bunch of awards and making a star of the previously unknown Jennifer Lawrence (soon to be seen in X-Men: First Class and the adaptation of the Hunger Games novels). It's a solid, moody film which is unfortunately hampered by a somewhat dull and unfocused story, a problem I see in a lot of independent drama.

Full review at

I love Jennifer Lawrence

She was brilliant in this great movie. It was a little slow but it haunted me for a long time. I see why it was nominated for Best Picture.

Decent film

This is a movie about Ree played by Jennifer Lawrence who looks after her mother, brother and sister. Her dad goes missing and she sets out to find him. She runs into a few bad people along the way. This is a decent enough film with a really good performance from Jennifer Lawrence

The Ozarks... interesting

hey look at me - i know how to work the star rating things! Yay.. This is a super flick and Ree Dolly is a hero! The acting is great and the characters representing the fine men and women of the Ozarks are fantastic. There is a good solid story line that slowly twists and churns its way through a dark mountanside to it's own awful conclusion, dragging you along with it - wide eyed and expectant. Don't miss it

A good 'un

Slightly depressing but held my interest all the way through and the superb acting puts it towards the top of my list this year!




Great movie the main character was amazing




So authentic you can almost smell and feel the woods.

Most engrossing. Topped with a knockout performance from new comer Jennifer Lawrence - we are going to be seeing and hearing lot more about her in the coming years.

Intense and dark but very enjoyable

“Winter’s Bone” this week. Kind of a cross between “Deliverance” and “The Road”. A teenage girl searches for her father who has skipped bail bond after putting up the house as security. Everyone seems to be related to everyone else in this movie (it is set in the Ozarks) and there are some pretty grim characters involved. An intense, dark movie but very enjoyable. 4.5 stars.

Good but not gripping


Good but not gripping

Wintersbone was enjoyable, a plodding drama with no great ups or downs. Dowdy characters, simple script just as it should be. It's one of those "But why would she do that?" kind of movies where you want to roll your eyes and write a better script. If you like movies of this genre then I highly recommend FROZEN RIVER... it is much better.

the best film I've seen this year


the best film I've seen this year

Brilliant, very bleak, great performances from the leads