Lawrence is the movie's blooming discovery, a mesmerizing actor with a gaze that's the opposite of actress-coy and a voice modulated in the low, almost monotone cadences of local ways.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
A coming-of-age story that is not entirely about breaking free.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Every so often a film gets under our skin with its haunting authenticity, reinforcing our faith in the wonderfully transporting power of cinematic storytelling. Winter's Bone is unquestionably that film.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
The gritty, desperate Ozarks milieu of Winter's Bone feels so real, so right, that you only slowly realize you're watching a detective movie.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Lawrence gives a guarded and watchful performance.
Dan Kois - Village Voice
Spectacular for its humanity, austere beauty and heart-stopping urgency.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
A masterpiece of sparseness.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
Jennifer Lawrence gives a stirring turn in a gift-of-a-lifetime role.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
What we've been waiting for: a work of art that grabs hold and won't let go.
David Denby - New Yorker
There is a hazard of caricature here. Granik avoids it. Her film doesn't live above these people, but among them.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The way Lawrence captures a young woman's fear and resolve, often non-verbally, well ... this is a considerable talent well on her way to a great career.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
The social detail of a 21st-century mountain community is completely persuasive, heightening the drama immeasurably.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
It's been a long time since a film has conveyed a culture, and a sense of place, with such telling precision. At the same time, Winter's Bone thrums with suspense.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
In an impeccable act of sympathetic imagination, director Debra Granik has entered into the soul of debt-ridden Appalachia.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
The result is a film and a character of unusual strength. Pity Ree, question her decisions, wonder about her future. But the girl does not quit.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Winter's Bone is a genuine triumph, a great movie with astounding performances so natural, so genuine, that you forget it's a movie.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Following its brave heroine (an outstanding Jennifer Lawrence) as she seeks to uncover the truth behind her father's disappearance, the film employs the structure of a whodunit to take a tough, unflinching look at an impoverished Ozarks community.
Justin Chang - Variety
The main reason for Winter's Bone to exist is that it delivers a little voyeuristic thrill -- a bit of poverty porno -- for the critics who awarded it their highest honors at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
This unblinking look at America's Red State Crystal Meth Belt is an instant Southern Gothic classic.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
The dialogue is so sparse and the plot is so lean in Winter's Bone, it requires acting of exemplary strength, and the movie delivers in spades, chiefly in the performances by Lawrence and Hawkes.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
This is a world out of time and, despite the trappings of flinty realism, the film too unfolds like an elemental myth from the stormy past -- a Greek tragedy driven by dark fates and struggling toward a catharsis.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
An absolute knockout.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Winter's Bone is a welcome reminder that thrillers don't have to be loud and boisterous to grab the attention and keep it captive.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Grim backwoods tale takes its time building momentum.
John DeFore - Hollywood Reporter
Winter's Bone is raw, real, understated, fiercely intense and surprisingly gentle and decent amid bursts of ferocity in the rural crime culture where the story's set.
David Germain - Associated Press
Every once in a rare while a movie gets inside your head and heart, rubbing your emotions raw. The remarkable Winter's Bone is just such a movie.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Intense, immersive and in control, Winter's Bone has an art house soul inside a B picture body, and that proves to be a potent combination indeed.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Peyton Place meets Deliverance in a meth lab.
Dan Jardine - Cinemania
In moments of confrontation [Jennifer Lawrence's Ree] is as fearsome as Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, taking on monsters to protect the small and the vulnerable.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Image
Jennifer Lawrence is dazzling as the film's protagonist as she struggles to uncover the truth between her addict father's disappearance.
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
Winter's Bone is an absorbing and socially conscious piece of work, underwritten by the constant threat of violence.
Ed Whitfield - The Ooh Tray
Gritty and real...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Granik... proves a dab hand with the camera, capturing the starkness of the Ozarks and Ree's situation in a free-flowing and pensive way that transfers the chill of it all on to the screen.
Matt Neal - The Standard
Not having been to this part of the country, I can't say for sure whether Granik has captured it accurately. The point is that it feels genuine.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Granik pays deference to the curious ways of the mountain folk, rejecting the prevailing hillbilly cliches to depict people with hardy survival instincts in the grip of financial hardship and addiction.
Fiona Williams - sbs.com.au
An unflinching portrait of shabby life in the Ozarks, this powerful indie drama features an Oscar-caliber turn from Jennifer Lewis, a real discovery who's only 20, in the lead.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Winter's Bone certainly has its redeeming qualities, particularly its cinematography and a superb lead performance by Jennifer Lawrence, but man, does it feel EMPTY until a gripping sequence near the end.
Gabe Leibowitz - Film and Felt
An acutely gripping, grimly authentic thriller.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Un retrato realista, crudo y duro de ambientes y personajes que viven al margen de la sociedad, de la ley y la moral, y que crece en intensidad como un thriller de suspenso. Estupendas actuaciones de Jennifer Lawrence y John Hawkes.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
Uma narrativa densa e multifacetada que permite que aquelas pessoas desafiem nossos preconceitos e se apresentem como individuos imperfeitos, sim, mas jamais unidimensionais.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
There is a profound sense of Neorealism percolating beneath Winter's Bone's noirish mystery plot.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Debra Granik's bleak little film is as tough, unflinching and fascinating as the characters who eke out a life amid its cold, gray hills.
Connie Ogle - Miami Herald
... consciously attempting to avoid cliches can erode authenticity. To director Debra Granik's credit, realism permeates every frame of digital imagery
Matt Kelemen - Las Vegas CityLife
A gripping movie that graphically portrays poverty as the worst form of violence in the life of a 17-year-old heroine struggling to save her family.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Winter's Bone is boosted by a stellar cast of characters who engender both scares and occasional sympathy.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
Winter's Bone is as quiet as a snake. It's a chilling and challenging visit into a remote -- perhaps alien -- world. But while Winter's Bone has anguish and fear, the film is ultimately life-affirming and real.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
A masterpiece, and a gem worthy of Oscar gold...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
It's the kind of movie that pulls you into its setting and doesn't let go.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
A rewarding, richly detailed exploration of the strength of character required when confronted by ugly truths.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
...a deeply naturalistic brand of high lonesome noir.
Chris Barsanti - PopMatters
From the moment you meet Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) in Winter's Bone, you know what she's capable of.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
A Southern teen navigates dangerous blood ties, and a new star emerges in the revelatory thriller Winter's Bone.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
Winter's Bone is indeed harrowing, but it is also fun. It's fun, because it's excellent, and after enduring the mostly-disappointing Hollywood blockbuster season, simply seeing an exquisite piece of work such as this brings a smile to my face.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
As Ree, 20-year-old Lawrence is an absolute revelation; her performance easily ranks amongst this year's best.
Alice Tynan - Concrete Playground
The tone and the mood are consistent, the wintry setting forbidding, the characters silhouettes in a world of lean survival. It's the kind of filmmaking that shows off the talents of all concerned
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
A tough tale of survival in a harsh environment, this adaptation echoes through the emotional chill and connects with us
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
[Debra] Granik's rich sense of place and culture has the convincing detail of authenticity, and it avoids any sentimentality of Southern rural poverty or kin loyalty.
Sean Axmaker - MSN.com
These spooky woods are a dangerous setting - here we find desperate, brain-dead trailer-trash, with moral centres as hollow as the burnt out shacks of their meth misadventures.
Andrew Hedley - Flicks.co.nz
If the film lacks a certain pinch of mesmerizing drama, it makes up the difference with an exquisite lived-in quality. A frightening, yet crookedly poetic realism.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
A chilling reflection of nature's darker side.
Katina Vangopoulos - Moviedex
A Chilling look at American Poverty.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
The Coen Brothers' O Brother Where Art Thou? was the last film to make such delirious use of mountain music. The rest of the world can start drooling over Lawrence. I'm gonna git me a copy of that soundtrack.
Charlotte O'Sullivan - This is London
The film continues to grow in the memory months after it was first seen which is always a sign of something great.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
Movies don't come much duller than this.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
The film, adapted by director Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini from the novel by Daniel Woodrell, establishes a formidable tension between mystery and matter-of-factness.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
There is poetry here -- as artists as diverse as Walker Evans, James Agee and Harry Smith have found -- of the rawest, most desperate kind.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
A sparse, engaging film perhaps easier to respect than love, but by any measure hugely compelling.
Catherine Bray - Film4
It is all given unironic dignity and power due to the outstanding lead performance from 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence as Ree, a young woman who must take on some scary neighbourhood types to protect her family.
It will wow anyone who thinks grimness equals profundity.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Think a film like Trash Humpers offers insight into a crappy life in the poor South? Winter's Bone will make you see the light.
Georgie Hobbs - Little White Lies
Lawrence's mature and inspiring determination makes this much, much more than a grim skid-row whodunnit.
Damon Wise - Radio Times
With a face as impassively beautiful as the landscape she trudges through, Ree Dolly is a heroine you won't forget. Tenacious and stoic, she holds her own in a vernacular that's equal parts hillbilly and hard-boiled.
Ellen E Jones - Total Film
A vivid reworking of Daniel Woodrell's novel that brings the book's conflicted heroine to searing life in a piece of unhurried filmmaking too rarely seen these days.
Philip Wilding - Empire Magazine
Granik balances the pace and intrigue of a mystery thriller with total compassion for Ree, played with much skill by Lawrence.
Dave Calhoun - Time Out
Director Debra Granik has captured a female performance of such rare, career-defining intensity that the film actually has a life-affirming effect.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
Winter's Bone is a rewarding watch that does repay a fairly slow-moving narrative with heightened tension and twists at the end.
Ben Rawson-Jones - Digital Spy
Like a Botoxed face, the movie never shows an interesting wrinkle or passion-attesting lifeline.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
It's a tight, gripping mystery with a well-chosen supporting cast and countless great little moments, such as a supremely spooky sing-song at a birthday party.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
Make no bones about it, this is first-rate stuff.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
It's a film full of mounting tensions and an atmosphere of dread and incipient terror that will make you uncomfortably familiar with the edge of your seat, which is where you'll mostly watch it from.
Allan Jones - Uncut Magazine [UK]
As bleak as it sounds, Winter's Bone has a special quality that makes it an unmissable film, and deserving of the Grand Jury Prize that it received at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Sarah Cronin - Electric Sheep
It's bleak, slow moving … but in its gradual, aimless way it ratchets up the tension to terrific heights, and its climactic twists come home with the force of a shotgun blast.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Easily one of the best films of the year thus far.
Fr. Chris Carpenter - Movie Dearest
This movie is a real tour de force for writer-director Debra Granik. This is the best movie I've seen this year and it will make my top 10 list for this year.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Keeps things authentic and chilling.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Granik deftly creates a film that's both a suspenseful crime drama and a pitiless portrait of a part of America that's usually ignored.
Rob Thomas - Wisconsin State Journal
Vivid, punishing, craggy-faced
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
With its rugged performances and bleak sense of place, Granik's Midwestern gothic is definitely going somewhere, and will take viewers with it all the way.
Anton Bitel - MovieScope
There are so many unforgettable scenes, in which I found my heart racing at not knowing what was about to happen, that I found myself forgetting to breathe.
Michael Smith - Tulsa World
The film explores the crushing poverty of America's rural regions, a Grapes of Wrath-style story with a country noir twist [that] feels authentic and original immediately.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
The sound of rarely heard voices and a portrait of a world all but forgotten except by the people who live there.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
I think every teen who's ever watched "The Hills" should get to know Ree, just as a reminder that being a girl is about more than mumbling and accessorizing.
Margot Harrison - Seven Days
A spare but riveting drama built around a raw, revelatory performance from Jennifer Lewis, it is one of the best movies to land in theaters to this point this year. By far.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Might have been more gripping if it had embraced its status as an utterly distinctive detective-genre effort instead of presenting itself with such determination as an 'art film'...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
leavens its worst moments with a sense of compassion and tenderness that reminds us to understand and empathize with, rather than judge, the characters
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Jennifer Lawrence is superb in Debra Granik's graceful film about gritty people.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
An altogether astonishing film, not in the least because Winter's Bone lives up to the hype -- or so nearly that it makes no difference.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
'Winter's Bone' is a movie to be experienced, not merely watched. But be forewarned. It's powerful stuff.
Frank Wilkins - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
The picture offers a rare look at a region that will seem as foreign to most moviegoers as the forest moon of Endor.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
By its towering ending, the movie feels like a feminist reworking of a classical heroic myth.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
The darkness that surrounds Winter's Bone almost overwhelms the entire movie. Fortunately, the thriller ends on a somewhat optimistic, even positive note.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Winter's Bone perfectly captures a hardscrabble setting some of us drive past on two-lane roads, wondering how people live that way.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
It won both the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic category and the Waldo Salt screenwriting award, and is well-deserving of both.
Kevin Kelly - Cinematical
Brilliantly rendered story of a girl falling into a Dante-esque descent in search of her prodigal father.
Highlighted by a knockout performance by Jennifer Lawrence, Granik's direction and McDonough's cinematography make this tense thriller as compelling as a documentary.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
With Winter's Bone, Granik has morphed from a director worth watching to one who demands our undivided attention. She's got mine.
Amy Biancolli - San Francisco Chronicle
Winter's Bone is the kind of film that should be offered to us more often.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
The setting, which I don't recall ever seeing on film, is menacing, unsettling and so foreign-seeming I kept forgetting Winter's Bone is set in present-day Missouri.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Both a whodunit and a coming-of-age tale, dominated by Jennifer Lawrence's luminous performance as the resourceful, much-tested Ree.
John Hartl - Seattle Times
Lawrence is outstanding as the young girl stepping up to do whatever's necessary to save her family, not allowing herself the luxury of even the smallest smile to deter her from the job at hand
Kimberly Gadette - Indie Movies Online
Winter's Bone boasts one of the strongest, most authentic, most fully realized heroines I've ever encountered. Jennifer Lawrence is revelatory.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
With a level-gazed approach to its milieu, empathetic but clear-eyed, Winter's Bone practically makes up for 40 years of Deliverance-style hillbilly cartoons.
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
A scorching drama of grim traditions, meth-cooked justice and a teen's desire to survive
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Kudos to Debra Granik for making a film that packs as many surprising punches as this one, and doing it in a refreshingly cinematic idiom.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
This emotionally scarring, pain-wracked character study/missing person mystery plays in a parallel Brick-like environment with its own language and code of conduct.
Dave White - Movies.com
It's a tough, no-nonsense film, with a tough, no-nonsense protagonist, and the kind of slow-burning, ominous atmosphere that gets under your skin and lingers for days.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Granik also manages to make viewers care about characters who wouldn't think twice about betraying their own families for a few bucks or maybe another hit.
Dan Lybarger - eFilmCritic.com
While Winter's Bone hardly exploits the poor in its depiction of them, its decision to focus on Bree while showing audiences their world seems like an artistic compromise.
Jeremy Heilman - MovieMartyr.com
Take it from a genuine hillbilly that this is a true and powerful statement on the tragedy of Ozark life.
Jimmy O - Film Snobs
It's visually arresting. From scenes of Ree frying potatoes in bacon fat to discussions of deer stew and squirrel meat, the combination of poverty and insularity that defines this particular socio-economic group is quietly and carefully established.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
For Jennifer Lawrence, she's probably the most gifted actress of her generation. How wonderful that, so young, she has already found a role worthy of her talent.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Winter's Bone...constantly surprises you, not only with unexpected twists in the story, but also with the complexity of the moral and ethical decisions made by the characters. .
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
Watching "Winter's Bone," one is not as impressed by the turns and twists of the plot as by Lawrence's willingness and ability to carry the film, and by the way in which her face, a work of biological art, holds the camera's attention.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Has genuine urgency in the conflict between the younger Ree's old-fashioned ideas of family and the older generation's newfound awareness of the need to abandon such ideals.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
No movie is perfect, but this Sundance winner comes close.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
... slow but fascinating ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
A good deal of the credit goes to actress Jennifer Lawrence, playing the kind of character you start out quietly rooting for, then end up backing, like some World Cup soccer hooligan.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Winter's Bone is the best film of the year.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Chilling as the woods in the dark, this quiet mystery has kindness and humanity sprinkled across hopelessness so constant you forget to breathe.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
A riveting exploration of old-society notions of responsibility and obligation, loyalty and betrayal
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Strikingly unsentimental. Winter's Bone has no time for backstory, moral lessons, or other cute stuff.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Serious, sensitive and stirring, it reveals a gritty, cruelly uncompromising world within the confines of our own country.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
This lead performance [from Jennifer Lawrence] is excellent.
Michael Phillips - At the Movies
If you enjoy good movie-making, excellent characters and a tightly wrought story then Winter's Bone is the film for you.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Lacks adequate suspense and intrigue, occasionally drags, and leaves you feeling underwhelmed despite strong, well-nuanced performances and a richly atmospheric setting.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
Director Debra Granik has the grace to approach the film's grim material and run-down, depressing setting with genuine humanity and curiosity, and the movie offers gripping suspense and uniformly excellent performances.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Employs a conventional Amerindie template ... without ever feeling stale, forced or phony.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
Granik makes something real out of all of it. And even, against all odds, hopeful. Because, yes, this is a hard and stony land. But the life that manages to take root there tends to survive.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Impressively directed, superbly written and featuring an Oscar-worthy performance from Jennifer Lawrence, this is a thoroughly riveting, naturalistic thriller that exerts a fierce emotional grip.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Together, Lawrence and Granik have created a heroine as tough as she is pretty, with a smart mouth and brazen attitude that give way to glimpses of scary vulnerability.
Annlee Ellingson - Moving Pictures Magazine
Sobering but unfailingly engrossing, uncompromising yet not without a certain hope by the end, Winter's Bone is the kind of original, blessedly independent work that major studios simply refuse to make.
An extraordinary picture...a chilling portrait, but one with human warmth pulsating beneath the surface.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Even when Winter's Bone feels like two different movies playing at once, they're both engrossing.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
Winter's Bone is one of those movies that can't quite make a distinction between profundity and plain old bleakness.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
something of a minor miracle
Chris Cabin - Filmcritic.com
Granik has no taste for noir archness, opting for a chilly, shot-on-decaying-locations naturalism that feels as lived-in as Lawrence's performance.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
Bleak as hell yet stubbornly optimistic, this low budget knockout is the best picture of the year so far.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Winter's Bone sometimes feels like a haunted house, where only extreme deference to scary people will save you.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
It will be a crime if Jennifer Lawrence isn't on every best-actress list at the end of this year.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
The film's succinct, well-paced plot avoids narrative convention and cheap sentimentality. It's the anti-Frozen River.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
For all the horror, it's the drive toward life, not the decay, that lingers in the mind. As a modern heroine, Ree Dolly has no peer, and Winter's Bone is the year's most stirring film.
Gothic in tone, and unapologetically downbeat, "Winter's Bone" is a film that turns over a rock of backwoods American reality and studies the beautiful and ugly things that crawl there with equal interest. It's the strongest drama of the year, so far.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
America at its bleakest is on display in this hard-hitting look at hill people that does little to counter the stereotypes.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
...a relentlessly bleak tale that in some ways echoes Charles Portis' classic True Grit, another story about a young girl who takes on adult challenges.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Noir may be the MSG of genres -- a little pinch makes almost any film tastier -- but does it work for Ozark gothic drama? Yes.
Shaula Clark - Boston Phoenix
A character study, not only of Ree, but of a place and way of life, which shows that there is a lot more to what most people think of as 'hillbilly culture' than the stereotype.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The temptation to call Debra Granik's latest film, Frozen River Jr., will be great. But the longer the buzz builds for it and for Jennifer Lawrence's star-making performance, it will become abundantly clear that this is the Senior of the two films.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Sadness radiates authentically from every scene, with the narrative's slow advance mirroring the glum conditions of Ozark life.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
Austere and grimly realistic.
David D'Arcy - Screen International
Deserves to be the major commercial breakthrough for both director Debra Granik and Jennifer Lawrence, its luminous, moon-faced star.
Ray Greene - Boxoffice Magazine