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Down to the Bone (2007)

Vera Farmiga , Hugh Dillon , Debra Granik  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vera Farmiga, Hugh Dillon, Clint Jordan, Caridad 'La Bruja' De La Luz, Jasper Daniels
  • Directors: Debra Granik
  • Writers: Richard Lieske, Debra Granik, Alex MacInnis, Anne Kugler, Jean-Michel Dissard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Arts Alliance Amer
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I0QL7I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,315 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Down to the Bone" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Debra Granik and star Vera Farmiga
  • Debra Granik's short film Snake Feed, on which the movie was based

Editorial Reviews

Down to the Bone has the unpredictability of life. Vera Farmiga gives a fearless performance as Irene, a working class mother living in upstate New York. She struggles to keep her marriage together and raise two sons while keeping her cocaine addiction a secret. Director Debra Granik was the winner at the Sundance Film Festival, Director's Award. Vera Farmiga was the winner at the Sundance Film Festival, Special Jury Prize. Bonus features include film commentary with director Debra Granik & star Vera Farmiga and the award-winning short ''Snake Feed'' on which the movie was based.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Through the years, there has been a proliferation of addiction drama. It's hard to imagine someone coming up with a new angle--there is addiction leading to destruction and addiction leading to rehabilitation. In either case, the addiction drama can be very alluring to the "serious" actor. What a great opportunity to showcase your acting chops--emotional devastation, a life spiraling out of control. Just think of all the actors who have received accolades (and deservedly so, for the most part) for exposing this unseemly underbelly of the human existence. What is a refreshing surprise about both "Down To The Bone" and Vera Farmiga's performance are how natural, straightforward, and understated they are.

Farmiga plays Irene, a wife and mother of two. A functional addict with a job as a supermarket checker, Irene realizes that her addiction is compromising a normal childhood for her children. Even though her husband is also a user, Irene takes steps to clean up her life when she hits a low point by stealing her daughter's birthday check to try and score a fix. The film documents her progress through a rehab program and the subsequent outpatient meetings as she attempts a drug free life. These scenes are played with a simplicity and earnestness. They are very naturalistic and the others involved play as real people instead of character types. There is no emotional grandstanding, just real individuals trying to get a grip on life--however fleeting that control may be. Connecting with a male nurse (and former heroin addict) at the rehab facility, Hugh Dillon in a great performance, Irene sees a success story and perhaps a chance at a clean life.

Not everything is easy on the outside, though, it never is.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new face of addiction... December 7, 2006
Clearly snubbed by Oscar last year, Vera Farmiga delivers a brilliantly controlled performance that warranted an absent Best Actress nomination in this low-budget independent film about a young mother named Irene (Farmiga) who just can't seem to break her bad habits. Irene is struggling to keep her marriage to fellow junkie Steve (Clint Jordan) afloat while she battles to raise her two sons. Her drug habit of course makes all of this difficult and so she decides that checking herself into rehab may finally help her to quit for good.

Once administered she meets fellow junkies trying to break free, including Lucy (Caridad De La Luz) and Bob (Hugh Dillon), a supposed reformed junkie who takes a liking to Irene from day one. The two of them start a heated affair that ends badly when they both fall back into using and are eventually arrested for possession, an act that costs Irene her marriage.

What makes this film stand out from the rest of the drug and rehabilitation films we see year after year is the authenticity in the performance given by Vera, her complete understanding of what her character is facing at any given moment. From her remorse filled eyes as she sits across from her counselor to her complete uncertainty as she stares at her husband and her friends using right before her eyes, offering no support to someone they supposedly love. The environment she's living amidst is part of what breaks her down, herself being the only one determined to change, and it's all but impossible to make those changes on your own.

~I just want to mention that one reviewer stated her husband Steve was 'a nice guy' and that's a statement I wholeheartedly disagree with. The scene I mentioned above alone made me hate him.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One day at a time . . . December 1, 2006
This is not your usual story about drug addiction. Set in the dreary months of winter and shot in Kingston, New York, it portrays the life of a very real desperate housewife with a blue-collar husband and two kids, a job as a cashier at a supermarket, and a drug habit. The film follows her attempts to get clean and sober without the usual melodrama of films in this genre, just the day-to-day struggle of dealing with a difficult life within constant earshot of addiction's siren call.

Vera Farmiga gives an amazing, controlled performance as the central character in the film, who loses both job and husband as she takes up with a male nurse at a rehab facility. Struggling with his own addiction, he jeopardizes her recovery, and the cycle of drug dependence continues. The film develops dramatic intensity without the use of histrionics. Voices are rarely raised and physical movement is restrained, yet emotions crackle under the surface of most scenes. The presence of two totally plausible child actors in several scenes adds a dimension of vulnerability while avoiding sentimentality.

The DVD includes a short film, "Snake Feed," on which the feature film was based, plus a commentary by the director, Debra Granik, and actress Farmiga.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars self-destruction or self-redemption? January 24, 2007
Vera Farmiga won a Sundance award for her portrayal of Irene, a blue collar checkout clerk, mom of two boys, and compulsive cokehead. Irene is a survivor of sorts who is easy to admire. She clearly loves her boys Ben and Jason, finds another job cleaning houses when the grocery store fires her ("I was fast because I was high, but when I came clean I slowed down."), and even checks herself into rehab. But she leaves rehab early, spends her kid's birthday check on crack, and leaves her dead beat husband for a recovering addict named Bob. Their emerging love devolves into relapse, co-dependence, and new spasms of self-destructive choices. Writer-director Debra Granik also won a Sundance Director's Award for this film. Befitting the despair and depth of Irene's problems, the entire film takes place in the dead of winter, and at the film's end the plot remains open and unresolved. Rated R for drug use and some nudity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad things can happen to good people
This is good entertainment with a message that everyone can screw up or be the victim of circumstance. The measure of a person is how they handle themselves. Read more
Published 5 months ago by sndmn
3.0 out of 5 stars Down to the Bone
The movie showed the struggle between the disease of drug addiction and the recovery process well. It showed the power of the drug. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Nancy Price (
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a Gift - So Wanted To Share
I'm a big fan of film maker Debra Granik's work... WINTER'S BONE introduced me to some wonderful actors. I LOVED that movie, so I thought that I'd give her DOWN TO THE BONE a try. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jacqueline Roland
4.0 out of 5 stars nice
When you are working on making changes in your life, seeing things that happen to others can and do affect you as well.
Published 7 months ago by Kathleen Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gritty Look At Addiction and Self Destruction
Vera Farmings had to be one of the most under-rated and under utilized actresses out there today. Director/writer, Deborah Granic, delivers a bleak, cautionary tale about the long... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Michael W. Vachon
3.0 out of 5 stars Winter Is Coming.
Down to the Bone (Debra Granik, 2004)

I watched Winter's Bone earlier this week and was wowed by it, so I immediately went back and queued up Down to the Bone, Granik's... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Robert Beveridge
5.0 out of 5 stars great resource for work
I recommend this DVD for counseling those in substance abuse. Always looking for a good resource Consider for group discussions
Published 14 months ago by Diane
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive
Honestly, I got this before I had prime and was just adding on an item for free shipping. What I got was a great film from the director of Winter's Bone and a stella performance by... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Farmiga was very good in it; even though I know little of the...
And it was directed by Debra Granik, who likes to use the term "Bone" in her pictures, Ms. Granik is a terrific director, and I loved Winter's Bone. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Betsy Bree
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
Very Farmiga won't be stopped in this wonderfully gritty and realistic film about people seeking peace in their own way. Vera Farmiga is a joy to watch.
Published 19 months ago by batcat22
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