EW Description: “This chilling R-rated indie drama about a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) in the Ozarks on the hunt for her bail-jumping father is one of the best-reviewed movies of the year. And chances are you haven’t seen it yet. So we suggest you get your hands on a copy – which includes a director’s commentary, deleted scenes, and a making-of doc – and see what all the fuss is about.”
This just might be the best movie I’ve seen this year. I am completely blown away by how good this was! Very few people have probably heard of this, and trust me, you are missing out.
Jennifer Lawrence stars as Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old girl living in the Ozarks, who has way too much on her plate. Her mom is nearly useless because of all the drugs she has done, mainly meth. This leaves Ree to take care of her 12-year-old brother and 6-year-old sister. Ree’s dad, Jessup, was arrested again for cooking meth and bonded out, but is now missing. He didn’t have quite enough money to make bond, so he put up the house where his wife and children are living. When the sheriff comes to tell Ree this, he says if Jessup doesn’t show up for his court date, the family will lose the house and they’ll have about a week to find somewhere else to live. Ree decides she’s going to find her dad and make him appear in court.
The film does an excellent job of portraying life in deep poverty in rural Missouri. It’s more than just the run-down houses. They show the entire culture. They show how close-knit these communities are and when anyone starts searching around where they don’t belong, there are consequences. The film really highlights how affected these communities are by meth, taking it and making it. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see a young woman who should be getting ready to go to college instead have to take care of her younger siblings because there is literally no one else to do it.
Possibly the most heartbreaking scene is when Ree is meeting with the Army recruiter. She wants so badly to join because to her, it means financial security for her family while giving her the chance to see the world. But then the recruiter tells her she won’t be able to bring her younger siblings with her when she’s in training and on active duty. You can see Ree’s heart breaking through Lawrence’s facial expressions. It’s absolutely heartwrenching.
Lawrence has been talked about as a possible Oscar nominee and in a perfect world, she would be the frontrunner. I worry this will be like last year where Gabourey Sidibe gave a far better performance in Precious but got overshadowed by the more Hollywood nominee. As far as the other cast members go, it’s not that they’re bad. No one in this film gave a bad performance, in my opinion. It’s just that Lawrence stole every scene she was in. Her portrayal of Ree was truly astounding. I can’t say enough good things about it. Watch out for Jennifer Lawrence. She has the potential to be Hollywood’s next great actress if she keeps giving performances like this one.