Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 100
    The movie heroes who affect me most are not extroverted. They don't strut, speechify and lead armies. They have no superpowers. They are ordinary people who are faced with a need and rise to the occasion. Ree Dolly is such a hero.
  2. This is one helluva drama, with one helluva star turn by Jennifer Lawrence as Ree.
  3. Reviewed by: 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    It's those noir bones that give this social-realist drama its punch, as if Humphrey Bogart had been recast as a 17-year-old girl and dropped into the poorest corner of America.
  5. 100
    This unblinking look at America's Red State Crystal Meth Belt is an instant Southern Gothic classic.
  6. Like "The Hurt Locker," Winter's Bone is a spare but riveting drama with a female director. It is built around a raw, revelatory performance by a young, little-known lead actor.
  7. Winter's Bone is the best film of the year.
  8. Reviewed by: Philip Wilding
    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.
  9. A genuine triumph, a great movie with astounding performances so natural, so genuine, that you forget it's a movie.
  10. Again, Granik has foregrounded a bold woman, expertly balanced between fearlessness and Ree's own private nervousness.
  11. Winter's Bone never hits a false note.
  12. One of the unshowiest and most true-blooded epics of Americana you're ever likely to see.
  13. 100
    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.
  14. 100
    Lawrence is in every scene of Winter's Bone, leaving her plenty of opportunity to make false moves. I dare you to find one, in a performance to be remembered during awards season.
  15. 100
    This movie's an absolute knockout. I know it's only June, but I'm damned if this isn't the breakthrough American film of the year.
  16. 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.
  17. Spectacular for its humanity, austere beauty and heart-stopping urgency.
  18. 100
    In its lived-in, completely non-ideological way, Winter's Bone is one of the great feminist works in film.
  19. 100
    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.
  20. Granik filmed in actual locations and enlisted many locals as actors. They blend unobtrusively with the professionals in the cast.
  21. 90
    Winter's Bone so far past any notion of formula or precedent that comparison is a futile exercise. This film is a thing all its own.
  22. 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.
  23. 90
    The film's realism is a point of entry rather than the whole point of the exercise. Its setting is finally subordinate to the main character, as memorable and vivid a heroine as you are likely to see on screen this season.
  24. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Raw but utterly enveloping.
  25. 88
    Winter's Bone is unforgettable. It means to shake you, and does.
  26. 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.
  27. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    On its face, Winter's Bone, like "Down to the Bone," is a bleakly realist drama about a community decimated by poverty and hopelessness, yet bound together by deep ties of class, gender and blood.
  28. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    In the end, the most interesting aspect of this quiet, sometimes frustrating, sometimes thrilling film is the way it teases out the intricate power structures that flourish even in as godforsaken (and lovely) a place as the Ozarks.
  29. 80
    Winter's Bone often seems to be unfolding in a world apart, with its own moral logic and codes of conduct. It might feel like prison if it weren't so obviously home.
  30. 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. It's for performances like this that moviegoers find themselves taking a chance on a title that doesn't have a fast-food tie-in.
  31. 75
    It's not always an easy movie to watch, but its characters are unforgettable.
  32. 75
    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.
  33. 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.
  34. Grim backwoods tale takes its time building momentum.
  35. 70
    Debra Granik's Winter's Bone is one of those movies -- like last year's inner-city down-a-thon, "Precious" -- that can't quite make a distinction between profundity and plain old bleakness.
  36. Amid all the hokey hill stuff, Lawrence's hard eyes and manner draw us in.
  37. 50
    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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 354 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 78
  2. Negative: 10 out of 78
  1. Dec 22, 2010
    A dangerous neighborhood, a mentally-illed mom, two little siblings, and a meth-cooking dad, Ree has got a lot on her mind. While trying to track down her druggie dad to get help with their house, Ree has to take care of her mother, a brother, and a little sister. The story demonstrated more than just a normal life of a poor family, it showed us that without giving up, there was always hope for Ree. Winter's Bone is touching and thrilling at the same time, but its main element was the performance of Jennifer Lawrence. Unbelievably real and melodramatic, Jennifer Lawrence is becoming a star as we know it. OscarBuzz: Best Picture (longshot from winning but guarantee a nod), Best Actress (same as Best Picture) Full Review »
  2. Oct 28, 2010
    Critics, Users? have you lost your minds? Boring boring boring. I must use 150 characters to write a review but this film has left me so numb that I have nothing to say. The wife was smart and left the movie after 10 menets, Full Review »
  3. Sep 26, 2011
    "Winter's Bone" is memorable for the solid performance of Jennifer Lawrence as well as the ready-to-explode tension director Debra Granik maintains. But the problem is, that's all the movie has. Full Review »