Winter’s Bone REVIEW
Winter’s Bone is set in a sparse impoverished landscape of despair. People throughout the film seem to be losing their humanity one ethical principle at a time. One gathers that the community has come to the place where all morality is on the table besides kin loyalty. “Dolly’s don’t run,” Rhee Dolly says. And they do not snitch on their family members either. Rhee is a 17 year old girl desperately trying to feed and provide for her two younger siblings and her mother in a shack that stands to be repossessed if she does not find her father or her father’s body and thus avoid the bondsman’s claim on it.
As the movie unfolds, we meet her uncle Teardrop and a whole assortment of relations who have all come a long ways from Sunday School. They cook meth, snort cocaine, threaten their womenfolk with violence, bribe people, murder people, lie to people, and let their neighbors live on squirrels. But they do take that first commandment of thieves and clans seriously: “Thou shalt not betray or abandon your kin.” And as the movie reveals, there is nothing that Rhee won’t do for her little family.
“I’d be lost without the weight of you two on my back,” Rhee says to her concerned little brother at the end of the film.
One is struck with just how simplified morality gets when deprivation and poverty tries to drive all vestiges of a more complex moral code out of consideration.
“Dolly’s don’t run.”
That’s the great commandment.
Question for Comment: Over the course of your life, have you added to and strengthened your moral code? Or simplified and made it something much leaner than it was when you started out?