Skyrocketed to fame, everyone knows Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the ‘Girl on Fire’. In ‘The Hunger Games’, Lawrence is the protective older sister and lives in a very dangerous world. But the horror of events happening to young girls becomes all the more real in ‘The Poker House’, which is based on a true story. The film is raw, gritty, and will flood viewers with emotion.
Lawrence plays the role of Agnes, 14 years old and growing up in 1976. She cares for her two sisters while her mother abuses drugs, alcohol, and turns their home into a gambling center/ whore house. As each sister’s day is followed, it becomes clear that they do not live ordinary lives. Most parents would cringe to see their children making small talk with violent men on the street or spending their day in a bar. Their mother is consistently heart-breaking with her lack of concern for any of her daughters.
But the innocence of each one is shown as little Cammie spends her time telling the bartender about Goldfish crackers, Bee buys candy with her earnings from recycling, and Agnes blows bubbles in the tub. Little did she know she’d be rinsing her own blood down the drain before the end of the film.
Despite the terrible events that occur, ‘The Poker House’ shows that no matter what happens to a person, they are still valuable and can carry on. The last five minutes of the film are simplistically sweet as sisterly love provides a sense of reconciliation in Agnes’s unthinkable world.
Lawrence holds nothing back in this film and leaves viewers unable to forget what they see. Her engrossing portrayal of Agnes earned her the ‘Outstanding Performance’ award in 2008 from the Los Angeles Film Festival and it is little wonder why.
As inspirational as Lawrence’s performance is, director Lori Petty seals the deal when she reveals that the story was based on her own experiences at the end of the film. For people who have gone through hardships in their lives, ‘The Poker House’ shows that you do not have to hide what has happened and you have nothing to be ashamed of. For those fortunate enough not to have had such experiences, it is a powerful reminder to be appreciative of what you have.
For more on Petty’s views on the film and the response of audiences, visit: http://www.artistdirect.com/entertainment-news/article/interview-lori-petty-on-the-poker-house/4706738