Director: Debra Granik
An incredibly well-acted and shot movie that everyone agrees is good and probably doesn’t want to see a second time.
Jennifer Lawrence (in her breakout role) plays a teenage girl in the Ozarks who is taking care of her younger siblings as her meth dealing dad is missing or dead and her mother is catatonic. She finds out her dad used their house as bond in order to leave jail, and unless she can find proof of his dead body (assuming he is dead), her family will be homeless in a week. What follows is her desperate attempt to get anyone in the town’s crime ring (including her uncle) to talk.
Everything about the movie feels honest. It’s shot on location. Many of the actors are also from location. Even the actors not from location borrowed clothes from those that live there. The children are directed well and Lawrence manages to excellently portray someone mature beyond their years yet still obviously a teenager. One never feels taken out of a scene.
While I enjoyed the experience as it was intense and authentic, there was little mystery and it’s mostly just one depressing snapshot after another. Visually the movie never gets gross, but many disturbing things are either implied or happen off-camera, so I just found myself uncomfortable for a good deal of the time. And while being uncomfortable should happen in a documentary, for a fictional movie I like to escape.