As stated on my previous entry, I am watching films done by the cast of The Hunger Games before any of them landed a role in the smash hit. I wanted to see how these actors were before; and to be honest, I am enjoying it. It's been fun seeing how these people have changed and evolved to who they are now.
Winter's Bone is the film that brought Jennifer Lawrence to prominence after receiving an Academy Award nomination last year. It's no surprise. Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most talented and believable actresses in Hollywood today. She has the potential and talent to surpass the stars we are looking up to now. She portrayed a very different character in Winter's Bone. The only similarities I can spot between the two characters I've seen her play (Ree Dolly and Katniss Everdeen) were the toughness and the drive they possessed. It's probably cause of the two different premises the films revolved in.
Jennifer Lawrence is able to trigger emotions from viewers, at least in my experience. I felt her struggles as I accompanied her through her journey in search for her missing father. I felt the agony and pain when she was beaten by a group of women. I saw the pain when she was brought to her father. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the movie, anticipating what would happen to her, what would happen to their house, will she succeed. Lawrence has a way of making her eyes do the acting, and it's not just about the tears. Her eyes can portray sadness, worry, fear, disgust, and anger. There was one particular scene when she was talking to the bondsman; and this scene was so striking to me. The way she told the man of how searching for her father inside the house would not only be a waste of time but would also piss her off. This is a very minor detail, but it was a highlight for me cause it was when i got shills just looking Lawrence's reaction. The way she stared the man, the way she said her line - it was all perfect. I think what makes it more amazing is the fact that I've seen lots of her interviews, and she has this fun, bubbly personality. The fact that she can shut that off and channel a totally different persona is just amazing, mostly because she does it so well.
The movie showcased a strong, stellar cast. I have absolutely no idea who the actors were with the exception of Jennifer Lawrence, the main reason I watched Winter's Bone and Garret Dillahunt, who I've seen in a couple of movies (I also know he stars in Raising Hope but I don't watch it). So far I've enjoyed everything I've seen from Garret Dillahunt. I first saw him in the movie "Amigo," a film by John Sayles starring Joel Torre, a Filipino actor. I hated Dillahunt's character as first, but was amazed by him halfway through the film. He was really good in that movie, very genuine and very interesting. Then I saw him in Burning Bright starring Briana Evigan, a movie I also enjoyed. Now, Winter's Bone has proven that he really is a great actor. Maybe I should start watching Raising Hope to see a different side of this actor in a comedy show. Lauren Sweetser also gave a strong performance. She embodied the perfect confidant.
The biggest surprise for me, I guess, were the two kids. These kids got skills in acting. The little girl seems a bit stiff in some parts of the movie, but that was just part of her charm. Both kids displayed their potentials as actors and have the ability to go big. Hopefully they will.
Winter's Bone was different that the films I usually watch. If Lawrence wasn't in it, I probably would never even consider watching the film. I've always found heavy drama movies less appealing than comedies, or feel good movies. The movie got nominated for several Academy Awards, and for good reason. The film was exquisite. It was a strong movie with a charming storyline of a struggling heroine. It featured a competent cast who delivered. The cinematography was also well-balanced. I will not be surprised if one day this movie ends up in the American Film Institute's list of top films. I don't know if that will happen. However, if it does, I will understand why. People who have seen the film will.
From the very beginning the atmosphere created by the film was very tensed and melancholic. What I loved in the beginning of the movie was how the first few scenes established the situation of the characters. It provided the problem to be tackled, the characters involved, the storyline the film will follow. It was well thought out, and carefully planned.
I liked the visuals of the film. The shots they used in the film were captivating and captured the essence of the film. The poverty surrounding Ree Dolly's and her struggle to make ends meet were reflected by the scenes found in the movie. The visuals were supported by the audio which I also appreciated. The sound effects and background music the film produced just provided an exciting feeling. The scene where Lawrence was chasing the big boss made my heart beat together with the beats on the background.
Another thing that's so good about the film is how they incorporated social commentaries in the film. Poverty, violence, drugs. and a whole lot more. It tackled issues relevant to today's society, and I think that part of the film was excellent. The film orchestrated in a manner that will relate to the people seeing the film. Ree Dolly epitomizes the persona of those marginalized people; those who suffer in today's chaotic society.
Overall, I completely understand the acclaim the movie received. For a film with a budget of 2 million dollars (according to Box Office Mojo), I had an even better viewing experience than some of the multi-million dollar films. The simplicity of the film was engaging, to say the least. It's one of those movies I'll think about and think "I'm glad I saw that film."