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A 2010 film directed by Debra Granik, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as 17-year-old Ree Dolly. With an absent father and a mentally ill mother, Ree is left to raise her two young siblings in a rural, Ozark community. One day, she learns that her father has put up the family home for his jail bond and disappeared. If Ree does not locate him within a few days, the family will be evicted. As Ree begins asking questions about her father's fate, she encounters increasingly violent resistance from local residents, all of whom are wrapped up in the meth trade.

The film was nominated for a number of Academy Awards including Best Picture, despite its modest commercial success and lack of star power.

Tropes present in this work

  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Downplayed. Ree is savagely beaten -- she even spits out a tooth -- and for part of the film her face is a bloody mess. However, by the end of the film she looks basically the same as she did at the beginning.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Practically all the people who hinder or physically deter Ree from her search for her father are actually members of her extended family.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ree saves the family home and gets a fat chunk of cash in the process. However, her father is dead, she's left to raise her siblings alone, and her uncle will probably get himself killed while taking revenge.
  • Crapsack World: The Ozarks are a really terrible place to live.
  • Determinator / Plucky Girl: Nothing will stop Ree from saving the family home. Nothing.
  • Disappeared Dad: The main conflict; Ree needs to find out what happened to her father.
  • Fever Dream Episode: Ree has one after being beaten, reflecting her fears about losing the woods and home.
  • Film Noir: Very much of the Neo-Realist variety.
  • Fluffy the Terrible:
    • "Teardrop". Real name: Mr Dolly.
    • "Thump," although everyone in the extended family treats it as a Name To Run Away From
  • Flyover Country: The film presents a pretty harrowing worm's eye view of just what is going on in some of those tiny Southern/Midwest towns. It ain't good.
  • Functional Addict: Teardrop.
  • The Ghost: Jessup Dolly.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Teardrop is a real bastard in the beginning of the film, but shows stronger family loyalty toward the end, despite also being somewhat Ax Crazy.
    • Merab. If your standards for a heart of gold are extremely liberal.
  • Kid Detective: Ree is helped and hindered by a number of people as she tries to work out what actually happened to her father, and displays a remarkable level of perceptiveness when deciphering who's telling her the truth and who isn't.
  • Meta Casting:
    • The soldier Ree talks to is a real-life Army recruiter. Their conversation was unscripted, and he responded to her inquiries as if talking to a real recruit.
    • The two children who play Ree's younger siblings actually lived in the house where much of the filming took place. The gender of one of the children was changed from the book (wherein both of Ree's siblings were boys) in order to accommodate the little girl.
  • Mexican Standoff: Teardrop has one with the sheriff simply because he doesn't feel like talking to him. The sheriff tries to press the issue, but ends up backing down.
  • Names to Run Away From: Thump, the patriarch of the drug-cooking family.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ree receives one from the women of the Milton family for persisting in trying to speak with Thump after having been warned not to.
  • The Napoleon: Teardrop, who is certainly not large or muscular, seems to inspire a healthy amount of fear.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Averted. The squirrel which Ree teaches the children to skin certainly didn't come from the supermarket.
  • Noodle Incident: How Ree's dad died.
  • Parental Abandonment: Jessup abandons his family to fend for themselves. Ree's mother's insanity could also be seen as a version of this.
  • The Patriarch: Thump
  • Patriotic Fervor: Hinted at around the edges. Homes display pictures of family members in the service. The local watering hole has a large, patriotic mural. The school ROTC is very popular. Ree herself has been considering joining the Army, and the impending loss of the family homestead adds urgency to the matter.
  • Police Are Useless: The local sheriff is useless, and commands absolutely no respect from the residents.
  • Promotion to Parent: Dad's gone and Mom's sick. Ree is in charge of taking care of her siblings now.
  • Real Is Brown: The story is set, and was filmed, in rural Missouri in the winter. As such, there's hardly any color to be seen.
  • Revenge: Ree and Teardrop both repeatedly state that they have no interest in revenge if it turns out that Jessup has been murdered. In reality, Teardrop asks Ree never to reveal Jessup's murderer if she finds out, with the understanding that he would be honor-bound to kill them or die trying. He figures it out anyway.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who put up the cash for Jessup's bond?
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Well, they do, but they're unlikely to venture out into the meth-ravaged and determinedly insular communities of the Ozarks.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Jessup's family's dumping ground is the swamp. Eventually, it's where Ree finds the dead body of her father.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: The men won't. So the women beat Ree instead.
  • Younger Than They Look: Prematurely aged by a hard life and mental illness, Ree's mother looks to be far into middle age. Given that she has children ranging in age from 17 to six, and is in a society where young marriage is likely the norm, she's probably under 40.
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