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Winter's Bone Review Critics


Dave White Profile

The best exploding meth lab movie of 2010. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    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.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    One of the unshowiest and most true-blooded epics of Americana you're ever likely to see.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Spectacular for its humanity, austere beauty and heart-stopping urgency.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    Grim backwoods tale takes its time building momentum.

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  • See all Winter's Bone reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Strong teen girl character drives grim but superb drama.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Winter's Bone -- a grim drama about a brave, resourceful 17-year-old heroine -- is not overly violent, but has a constant, simmering promise of violence, with lots of guns and threats, even toward children. Drugs and smoking are ever-present, if not always seen onscreen, sincethe action is set in a drug-making community. There is strong, but not constant language, including multiple uses of "s--t" and a few uses of "f--k." Aside from the gloomy tone, however, the character of Ree is incredibly admirable, and the importance of family becomes a strong theme.

  • Families can talk about the character of Ree. She's different from the teen characters often seen in movies -- how? Do you think her character is more or less realistic than the teens portrayed in big Hollywood movies? Do you have a preference for this grittier character, or do you prefer the fantasy of glamour that many movies offer?
  • Ree's community is filled with smoking and drugs and the threat of violence. How are the movie's portrayals of drugs and violence different or similar to the way they show up in other movies? Was the drug use glamorized? Did it look like these characters led appealing lifestyles? Did you recognize anything from real life in this movie?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The movie is relentlessly downbeat, but it does have a positive slant. The heroine is only 17 and has found herself in charge of raising her two younger siblings. Given a difficult problem to solve, she musters up courage, faces her fears, and marches into danger. There's also a secondary, but equally powerful message about the importance of family.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: No parent would ever wish for their teen to be in Ree's situation. However, Ree is impressively brave, resourceful, and selfless. She's wise beyond her years and seems to know how to navigate difficult situations in this quasi-criminal community, but she's above doing anything illegal or unhealthy to herself (with one exception).

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Very little graphic violence, but the movie is filled with the simmering, realistic threat of violence. Characters are always flashing guns, and animals are shot, killed and skinned (for eating). A character teaches two young kids how to shoot guns safely. More than once, adult characters threaten children and teens. One adult character wraps his hands around a teenage girl's throat. The teenage girl is later beaten up, but this occurs offscreen. We only see her cuts and bruises. Finally, there's a somewhat gruesome sequence involving cutting the hands off of a corpse with a chainsaw; the corpse is under water and not much is actually visible, but the scene is powerfully suggestive.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Some very infrequent language and mild suggestion.

  • language false4

    Language: Language is not constant, but is occasionally very strong, including a few uses of "f--k" and many uses of "s--t." Otherwise, we hear "ass" several times, and "t-ts" once. We also hear "balls," "go to hell," "son of a bitch," and "damn."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Most of the characters are drug makers and drug dealers, except for the main characters. The teen girl very deliberately avoids drugs and frowns upon them, except for one scene in which she accepts a "doobie." The other characters seem to make their own "crank" in homemade meth labs. We don't see any of this onscreen, but there are many references to it, including the terms "cooking" and "cooking crank." An older character snorts coke onscreen, and smokes several cigarettes. A character offers a "line" and to "blow some smoke." And another character mentions marijuana. Some drinking and smoking.