Winter's Bone is a 2o1o film I came across unexpectedly through Redbox. It has been compared by many online to Frozen River, another Sundance release I discussed earlier this year. Both movies profile a strong female lead isolated in a rural environment, recently deserted by the male in their family, and solely responsible for dependent children (FR on the Canadian border and WB in Missouri's bleak stretch of the Ozark Mountains).
Ultimately, the two women deal with their predicament differently. WB's Ree Dolly is restricted by a cultural code that determines how and when she can accept charity, when she should talk or keep quiet, and how much input she can give as a woman regardless of the severity of her situation. By comparison, FR's Ray Eddy makes decisions based on personal want and desire. She is limited only by her own small view of the world. While both women are to be admired, the relentless Ree Dolly is without a doubt the more courageous character and her success the more honorable one. Let me know if you feel the same.