One of my two New Year’s resolutions is to see more movies. I’ve spent the last few years reading rather than watching. It’s not just I don’t go to the movies–the only movie I saw in theaters in 2011 was the last Harry Potter. I have also stopped watching movies at home and, by the end of last year, I felt both culturally out of sorts and distressed I’d missed films others raved about. I’ve yet to make it to the theater this month–I’ve still got another week!–but I have been watching movies at home with my husband. Last weekend we watched Moneyball–I thought it was good, not great and that both Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman outshone Brad Pitt–and, a film I thought was stunning: Winter’s Bone.
The 2010 film, which was nominated for four Oscars and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, is a dark, gritty tale of 17 year old Ree Dolly’s determined efforts to hold onto her family’s ramshackle home in the Ozarks. Her meth making dad is missing, her mom is almost completely emotionally withdrawn, and her younger brother and sister depend on Ree for their survival. When Ree learns her dad gave a bail bondsman the deed to their house as collateral, she’s determined to find her father–or his body–in order to keep her home from being taken. Ree pushes those around her to tell her the truth about her father’s fate, even as it becomes clear that the harder she pushes, the more she endangers herself.
Ree is played with a steel of spine by Jennifer Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence’s performance is flawless. She eclipses everyone else in the movie. Time and time again, in the film, she straightens her shoulders and walks into what she knows is danger. She hasn’t another choice–she will face anything or anyone if it will help her protect her family.
Beginning on March 23rd, Ms. Lawrence will be seen by millions. She has been cast as Katniss Everdeen, the determined, resourceful heroine of the Hunger Games series. After seeing her in Winter’s Bone, I haven’t a doubt she’ll be a great Katniss. Like Ree, Katniss is, above all else, a warrior with a heart. I can’t wait to watch Ms. Lawrence as Katniss–now that I’ve seen her in Winter’s Bone, I can’t think of any young actress better suited to the role.
What do you think? When you look at the trailers for the Hunger Games, does Ms. Lawrence work for you as Katniss?