Perhaps, it wasn’t the best Father’s Day film: a father, arrested on a drug charge, puts his house up for bail without telling his family. He was planning on being acquitted, it appears, because he had been cooperating with the authorities. But before his trial, he disappears, and the house is in jeopardy. The only way it can be saved from the bail bondsman is if the father is dead. Ree, his 17 year old daughter, wise beyond her years and situation, caring for her 12 year old brother and 6 year old sister, and her mentally ill mother, decides that she will find her father or her father’s body.
It takes place deep in the Missouri Ozarks, south of Springfield, north of the Arkansas line (and no, not at Branson). The characters are all a bit crazed, both in their looks and their speech. And they all seem to be related, something that doesn’t appear to make them behave any better towards each other.
Does a place like this really exist? Well, yes, because this film was not made on a stage set, it was filmed in real houses, where little was disturbed, and even the pets were authentic. And, something I didn’t know during the film, Ree’s 6 year old sister had not been a child actress, but was in fact the granddaughter of the owners of the house in which Ree and her family live. And the elegantly looking man who played Stump? Another local, whom the director met in a local church, and who acted in part as a liaison between the film crew and the local community.
The movie is somewhat slow, somewhat gruesome, but moving just the same. Jennifer Lawrence, who has the central role of 17 year old Ree, does an excellent job. She actually looked to me to be younger than 17, but Wikipedia tells me she is 19, turning 20 this year.
Should you see this Sundance audience award-winning film? Sure. If you would like to see “Deliverance” meet “True Grit”.
Prior to the movie, we had a Father’s Day brunch at Nest in Bethesda – a very comfortable restaurant that I understand serves good dinners. But my scrambled eggs are better.