Winter’s Bone

A teenage girl in rural Missouri (Jennifer Lawrence) must find her missing drug-dealer father, or she and the family will be evicted from the hardscrabble farm he put up for bail security. Director Debra Granik’s movie (adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini from Daniel Woodrell’s novel) starts out as a missing-person story, then becomes a murder mystery. But Granik’s main concern isn’t the mechanics of the plot, it’s the stark, forbidding, emotionally barren and pitiless atmosphere of the insular hillbilly community in which the young heroine must operate, meeting first indifference, then hostility and finally danger in trying to do something that she has no choice about. The pace is grimly slow but fascinating, with excellent performances, especially by Lawrence and John Hawkes as her hard-eyed uncle.