Director: Debra Granik
Year Released: 2010
A tough-as-nails teen (Jennifer Lawrence) goes in search of her drug-peddling father when she's informed by the authorities that he's missing and that she might be losing her family home, but this quest meets resistance by her neighbors and extended family who want her to stop asking questions (meanwhile, her Mom is busy acting like a nut). Though it does peddle in stereotypes and backwoods-chic, reinforcing the notion that the uneducated poor are up-to-no-good and prone to explosive violence and creepiness (echoes of Deliverance, perhaps?), it is a potent statement about the ugliness of patriarchy (woman, know thy place!) and loyalty to blood relatives. John Hawkes, as Teardrop, is the real stand-out: he's a mixed-up lunatic, but he does operate according to his own code, and when he and Lawrence's character band together it's like a down-home version of a Nicholas Ray film. The storytelling is solid, and the mud-loving cinematography by Michael McDonough - the glorious skies, the rotting earth - adds much to the mood. This picture has been brought to you by Carhartt.