Film Friday: Winter’s Bone

Ree lives in the mountains, looking after her mother, and younger brother and sister, Ashlee and Sonny. Ree herself is only 17 but has to be old beyond her years. Especially when the police show up with the news that their criminal father has put the house up for his bail bond. If daddy does not show up for his next court appearance they will lose the house, and all be homeless. Ree decides she will find her missing father – whatever it takes. As she hunts high and low the chances of success grow ever slimmer. She goes to see the various neighbours in their homes dotted around the mountains, and they all seem to know something, but will not say. So she goes to see about enlisting in the army, simply to get the one off pay-out.

Things look very bleak, but Ree is a fighter, and is resourceful too. She won’t give up. Even after getting badly beaten by some of the local women who are desperate to hide the truth from her. She will do anything to save her family and their home. Watching this put me in mind of the young Esther, she too was tough and resourceful. And she too had to be old beyond her years in a time of crisis. Raised by her cousin Mordecai, she found herself scooped into King Xerxes’ palace harem, and then made Queen, after the king dumped his wife in a rash moment. One day Mordecai dropped by and told her that there was trouble brewing. As a Jew he had refused to bow to Haman, the prime minister, and as a result the PM had issued a decree that all the Jews in the city be destroyed. These were dark days indeed. But Mordecai had a plan, no one knew Esther was a Jew, and she might well be able to overturn the decree, if she could find the courage and initiative to persuade the king. With the weight of her people on her shoulders she fasted and prayed, and dug deep. Like Ree, she could not let this cruel injustice pass her by, she had to do something. And like Ree, she laid her life on the line.

The Bible is jammed with women who are fighters in the best sense. Ruth, Jael, Deborah, midwives Shiphrah and Puah, Rahab, Joanna and Susanna, several Marys, Tabitha, Priscilla and Aquilla. The list goes on. Women in hostile environments who dug deep like Ree, and spent themselves to help others. History too is littered with heroines, most of them unknown to us, but hopefully we are each aware of at least a few that have personally inspired, nurtured, helped and changed us for the good.

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