“The Poker House” is a movie for actors and anyone interested in acting, but general audiences may have a hard time connecting to the story.
Based on true events in actress Lori Petty’s adolescence growing up around hookers and pimps in Iowa, “The Poker House” is a slow-moving drama that features terrific performances from its female leads.
Certainly the strength of the female roles is what drew Selma Blair to the project. According to Petty, it was Blair’s interest that gave the movie its momentum and could be made. The movie has yet to find a distributor.
Blair portrays Petty’s mother, a drug-addicted alcoholic who turns tricks in her home, known to locals as the “poker house.” Her three daughters, including a teenage Petty, do their best to stay out of sight.
The circumstances are bleak and the fact that Petty emerged from that dangerous environment to obtain success in Hollywood make the story even more amazing. Petty’s co-writer, David Alan Grier, said at the film’s world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival that learning about Petty’s past was startling.
Blair is not the only one who gives a strong performance in the movie. Newcomer Jennifer Lawrence plays Petty as a teenager and has no problem with the rollercoaster of emotions necessary for the role. One moment she is a strong, independent woman and the next she is a vulnerable little girl who needs her mother.
“The Poker House” comes across as a very personal film that is very much about exorcising demons from the past.