Almost always, my favorite movies are not SF. There is a reason for this: SF movies, even when they contain strong ideas and characters, often get seduced away from them by a fascination with special effects, endless fight scenes, and dramatic car chases (witness INCEPTION).
WINTER'S BONE has no car chases. It barely has any cars. Also no video games, cell phones, or night-vision goggles. There may have been a brief glimpse of a TV. What WINTER'S BONE has is people -- striving, feeling, and desperate people. This is not a cheerful movie, but it is a very real one, and its unknown young star, Jennifer Lawrence, is amazing.
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!]
Lawrence plays Ree, a seventeen-year-old girl living in the ass end of the world somewhere in Appalachia or the Ozarks. Her mother is too mentally ill to function, she has a little brother and sister, and her father has disappeared. Ree has to find him or the family, barely surviving as is, will lose its land and pehaps even starve. Ree is kin to everybody for miles around, but her clan alternates between helping her and warning her off, sometimes violently. Ree knows why, and we gradually learn why, too -- the entire clan survives by operating meth labs. The law knows this as well, and they would also like to find Ree's daddy. If all this sounds like another set-up for complicated double games and shoot-outs, it's not. Ree's kin know where he is, both she and the law knows they know, and only torn loyalties and potential betrayals are in operation, not con games. It's more than enough. This movie is about courage and desperation and the ties of blood, and it is terrific. Not for the faint-hearted, but I can't recommend it highly enough.
And young Jennifer Lawrence is Oscar material.