Down to the Bone (Granik, 2004)

Down to the Bone (Debra Granik, 2004)

Down to the Bone or 101 Things Not to Do as a Mother. Vera Farmiga plays a coked-out woman stumbling through her life as a checkout clerk, a wife, and a mother. The film is probably the oddest take on drug addiction I’ve ever seen. Yeah, she does some sad things while using, but by the movie’s end, those things look like kindergarten mistakes. It’s when she tries to get things turned around that everything begins to really fall apart. Her support system is awful from top to bottom. The film is almost painful to watch as mistake after mistake is mounted on top of each other. It helps a lot that the boys playing her kids do a great job in their subtle way of portraying innocence and pain without ever coming across as forced. The film does suffer from slight bouts of amateurism, and Farmiga plays her part best when she’s toned down a notch. (Her dramatic scenes feel overdone.) But it’s a good movie, and a more than solid first effort from the director of Winter’s Bone. 7.75/10


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