Here is a critically acclaimed movie, a winner of Best Picture at Sundance, and called by Ebert “One of the year’s best films.” Roger Ebert’s Review gave this four stars. It get mostly great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, yet I couldn’t do much with it.
It is the story of a 17-year-old girl in the Ozarks hinterland with a mother who is apparently demented, a father in jail for moonshining meth, and two young siblings that she is compelled to take care of. Apparently, her father posted bail by mortgaging the house and skipped bail. The house will be repossessed within a week, unless the father shows up. The girl needs to find her father – and nobody is helping.
The late fall, early winter landscape is bleak. Everyone lives in hovels in the woods. Beat up trucks are the main transportation. Trash, car hulks, discarded tires and appliances litter the landscape and seem to surround each house. The lack of beauty of any type is utterly depressing, and we just have to watch for a couple of hours. These kids are trapped there for the rest of their lives.
So, yes, the movie is depressing. Yes, it seems real. But overall it was dull. I didn’t understand much of what was said, perhaps that too is a sign of realistic life. I could not follow the story and needed help with reviews afterwards to “get it.” I almost fell asleep watching it a few times, but I shook myself awake.
An award-winning movie that simply didn’t get through to me.