Life’s hard in the scraggy Ozark Mountains in the Midwest of the United States – there’s nothing much here but teenage pregnancies, pick up trucks and the army. Young Ree takes care of the run-down family farm, her sick mother and her small siblings. She is tough far beyond her years, but this new business even takes her to her limits: Her drug-dealing dad has pawned the house, and if he doesn’t show up in court, the family loses everything. It’s the start of a brutal odyssey through a decrepit and savage community literally at the edge of civilization. Director and author Debra Granik crafts this little indie gem out of unflinching social realism and top-notch performances by Jennifer Lawrence in the leading role and the cream of American TV actors like John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt doing background work. The award-winning filmmaker moves somewhere between women’s drama, neo-western, portrait of a society and detective story to create a stirring film just as demanding and fearless as its teenage protagonist.
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Selected filmography Michael McDonough
BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE (2002), DOWN TO THE BONE (2004), DIGGERS (2006), THE BABYSITTERS (2007), NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU (2009)