Down to the Bone (Debra Granik, USA, 2004)

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down to the bone

A working class working mom with a drug habit struggles to keep her life afloat. One begins to see themes emerge in Granik’s work: a mourning for what America’s become: all those dollar stores, people in work but in dead-end jobs and living below the poverty line; drugs or alcohol as the only but dangerous release from a life of grind; female protagonists; female solidarity within a heterosexual, small-town or rural setting. Here a big deal is made of getting into the city, etc. Granik demonstrates tremendous empathy for the people she depicts and is wonderful with actors. She’s a poet too: what is the snake here? Is it a symbol for the need to get high like the smoke of a crack pipe, or something more akin Cocteau’s opium dreams? Vera Fermiga is a standout in the central role of Irene Morrison: I’ve never seen her better. Down to the Bone succeeds in invoking a feeling that you are seeing real places with real people, and that they somehow manage to plow on nobly in very ignoble circumstances.

 

José Arroyo

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