Currently at its widest release (70 theaters), Winter's Bone is the best of the indie Ozark sub-genre. Ree Dolly is a 17-year-old who raises her siblings in a small, backwoods home that she's about to lose to a bail bondsman. Her father's court date is approaching and he's no where to be found. Everyone she asks tries to shut her up.
Winter's Bone avoids the rural-themed art house cliches. The plot moves along briskly - there aren't the monotonous landscape-indulgent pauses that plagued Frozen River and its ilk. The accents seem unaffected, and the film relies on story and character, so that concerns over "genuineness" are forgotten. It eschews both Hollywood mawkishness and indie over-understatedness.
Jennifer Lawrence plays her role perfectly, without a slip. There's not much competition this early in the year, but I'd be fine with an Oscar nod for her.