USA, 2009, 100 minutes
Fri, Apr 30 / 6:00 / Kabuki / WINT30K
Mon, May 03 / 8:45 / Kabuki / WINT03K
Seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly’s crystal meth–cooking father has gone missing, with a court date looming. If he jumps bail, then Ree, her mentally ill mother and two younger siblings will lose their home, something she is not about to let happen. Despite a blunt warning from her Uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes) that she risks her life by asking too many questions of a clan wholly immersed in the speed trade, Ree embarks on a hellish search to find her dad. Winner of Sundance’s Grand Jury prize as well as the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, Debra Granik’s adaptation of Daniel Woodrell’s novel is both terrifying and transcendent in its evocation of a family torn apart by the drug trade. Filmed on location in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, the emphasis is on realistically portraying the pernicious effects of poverty, hopelessness and drug abuse in a rural community. But this atmospheric drama is no mere cautionary tale, instead zeroing in on one young woman’s determination to deny what seems like fate and break free from a dismal family legacy. Facing serious threats from her kin is only the most dramatic part of the significant challenge Ree faces in making a real future for herself and her little brother and sister. As memorably portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, it’s Ree’s unshakeable belief in a better tomorrow—in stark contrast to the Dolly clan’s nihilism—that makes her such an indelible character and her journey so poignant.
Presented in association with California Film Institute.