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The Poker House

82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Actress Lori Petty makes her directorial debut with this poignant, beautifully crafted film about a teenage girl trying to survive the dismal circumstances of her life with dignity, humor, and basketball.

About the Director

Petty first became famous for playing Keanu Reeves' surfer girlfriend in the 1991 action thriller Point Break. Prior to that, she got her break starring with Richard Grieco in Fox's Booker. In 1992, Petty was featured in the box office hit A League of Their Own which starred Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna. Petty played the title role in Tank Girl in 1995, which made her into a cult icon. Her other films include Free Willy and In the Army Now. Petty is also known for providing the voice of the supervillain Livewire on Warner Bros.' Superman: The Animated Series, and The New Batman Adventures. Petty's directorial debut, The Poker House (2008) won awards at the Los Angeles Film Festival.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Bokeem Woodbine, Sophia Bairley, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Alan Grier
  • Directors: Lori Petty
  • Writers: David Alan Grier, Lori Petty
  • Producers: Stephen J. Cannell, Michael J. Dubelko
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Phase 4 Films
  • DVD Release Date: August 18, 2009
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002B5AWDM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,835 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Randy L. Pertler on October 6, 2009
Format: DVD
This is the kind of movie that you are still thinking about when you wake up the next day. It is funny and sad at the same time. It is very inspiring because it is based on Lori Petty's life. The movie is far better than most of the junk that is release in the theaters. You won't be disappointed with it.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Cleo on April 12, 2010
Format: DVD
This movie is Antoine Fisher for girls. It reminds me of Boys Don't Cry in depicting how scary poverty in America is. It's about being born into an unlucky childhood where a bad mother can really destroy you. I have no idea whether this is a true story but it's nice to believe that the main character ultimately survives. This is a much better movie than White Oleander. This movie is made scarier for being set in the 1970s. Also, the lead actress looks like both Maggie Cheung and Hoku. She's lovely to look at and the two little girls who play her sisters are adorable. The Clarke Peters cameo was a treat and the soundtrack is terrific.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A surreal movie about the struggles of childhood enveloped in drugs and dysfunction at it's core. This movie is based from the 60's and shows of three Sisters who struggle to take care of themselves while their Mother abuses drugs and prostitutes herself for her Pimp who is her lifeline. The movie tells it all from the gut wrenching emotional abuse that the girls endure from their Mother. The neglect is unspeakable and you can feel the pain that the daughters feel. I recommend this movie to anyone willing to witness the all the elements of a family completely destroyed by drugs.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By SherylB on December 29, 2009
Format: DVD
Not what I expected. The actress who portrays Lori and the actresses who play her sisters are very watchable. Sad movie but very, very interesting. I commend Lori for rising above her circumstances.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bramble on April 26, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought "The Poker House" because it featured two of my favorite young actors, Jennifer Lawrence and Chloe Grace Moretz, in a 2008 film before they were famous.

Lawrence, who was 17 when this film was shot, plays barely 14-year old Agnes, the daughter of an emotionally-twisted, drug/ alcohol-addicted, prostitute-mother portrayed by the wonderful Selma Blair.

Moretz, who must have realistically been around 11 years old, is one of Agnes' sisters, Cammie. Sadly underutilized, Moretz has little to do in the story other than sit at a bar and trade non sequiturs with an alcohol-addled, delusional and paranoid barfly (David Alan Grier).

Agnes, as the de facto manager of this house of ill repute, is infatuated with a black pimp (Bokeem Woodbine) who treats her nice with gentle kisses while beating and selling her strung-out mother. Finally, the pimp decides it's time for Agnes to join Mommy and he viciously attacks the 14-year old. The violation is painful and hard to watch, Especially difficult to observe is the reaction, or should I say nonreaction to this violation by her mother who later makes it clear she would die for her pimp.

The Lawrence character has a big basketball game on this night of the molestation, What is her pre-game ritual? Stretching and Gatorade? Hardly, she drinks alcohol, and smokes weed & cigarettes. Then there's that little incident concerning the (dare we say it?) rape.

The casual viewer might think Agnes wouldn't have the right mindset for this contest. Casting her fate to the wind, she shows up for the game, although it is well into the second half. Donning her metaphor-like Wonder Woman suit, she pours in 27 points in 7 minutes to steal the victory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By THE MOVIE GUY on October 19, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Based on a true story that takes place in Iowa. Agnes (Jennifer Lawrence) is a 14 year old girl advanced for her age. She plays basketball, does calculus, holds down a local job, keeps the household together and gives dry boring narration about her life and dogs biting. Her mother (Selma Blair) owns the Poker House" which is known for poker, gambling, drinking, prostitution, and apparently drugs, although the nightly antics are basically limited to one night, so the audience never got the real feeling of despair.

Bee (Sophi Bairley) is 12 years old and delivers papers. She stays at the neighbors whenever possible. Cammie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is the youngest and in spite of all the praise for J-Law, I couldn't wait for her character to come on screen as she rattled off at the mouth.

The story is slow. It spends time to fully develop the sisters' characters. Agnes, is coming of age and has a touch of Jungle Fever, which becomes both her demise and finally salvation. It is an interesting tale, but it felt incomplete. Personally I thought Lawrence's acting in "Winterbone" smoked this one.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, rape, nudity (Selma Blair) 3 1/2 stars

The film leads you to believe this was the bio for Lori Petty but her IMDB bio reads: "She spent her childhood traveling the US with her father, a Pentecostal minister. Her keen talents first lent themselves toward being a graphic artist in Omaha, Nebraska, but an impulsive desire to act quickly took precedence and soon she was off to New York"

"She was the first female editor of the North High School newspaper and graduated in 1982.
Attended North High School, Sioux City, Iowa, where she was involved in Yearbook and speech/debate."

The film suggests she left for NYC at 14. Seems to be some missing story.
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