By coincidence, I watched both True Grit (2010) and Winter’s Bone recently. Both films were nominated for Oscars in 2011, and much has been made over the parallels between them: incredibly tough teenage girl, left alone to care for her siblings and hapless mother, shows preternatural courage and determination on her quest— in True Grit, to find and kill her father’s murderer; in Winter’s Bone, to find her father, dead or alive.
It’s irresistible to compare the two movies, and it’s refreshing that neither girl is made a puppet for either feminist or conservative agitprop. But it doesn’t serve either film well to rate them against each other. They aim for and achieve different things.