The Poker House (or Behind Closed Doors) is a difficult watch with sombre themes and difficult subject matter.
The mood hanging over the piece is a bitter one and becomes rather unrelenting, needing a spark of something new to change it up every now and then.
Thankfully, the impressive Jennifer Lawrence is on hand with an emotive, sharp performance. The signs of her future stardom are evident in this 2008 picture, as she commands the screen and your attention for every minute. Danielle Campbell and Chloë Grace Moretz deliver solid supporting turns as her younger sister who Lawrence's character, Agnes, cares for as her mother isn't up to the job.
It is clear writer-director Lori Petty is deeply committed to the project and her work is strong here - I just wish we had more rest-bite from the bleakness, as it becomes, frankly, exhausting.