The Poker House

The Poker House Information

The Poker House is a 2008 American drama film written and directed by Lori Petty. The film portrays a painful day in the life of a teenage girl who is raising her two younger sisters in their mother's whorehouse.


This film focuses on the dysfunctional life of three sisters. Everyday life is filled with misery, abuse and neglect. They live in a house with their mother Sarah, a drug-addicted prostitute, and her pimp Duval, a violent pedophile. Their father, a minister, beat his wife and children. Agnes, the oldest sister, went to church with her mother and two younger sisters every Sunday. When Sarah gathers her daughters and leaves their father, she struggles to make ends meet and winds up a prostitute whose pimp gets her addicted to drugs. Shortly after she turns 14, Agnes is violently raped by Duval, who gloats to Sarah about what he has done, referring to Agnes as 'a piece of meat'.

After the incident, a deeply traumatized Agnes rushes to the bath tub to clean herself. Her mother comes in and Agnes reaches out for her in clear distress, but gets an unemotional drunken response. Agnes tries to shoot the pimp after finding out he now intends to sell her as a prostitute like her mother, who bluntly says she will defend her pimp. She leaves after the altercation and goes to her basketball tournament where she scores 27 points in the second half. She finally lets out a scream of anger once she gets back to her car, and goes to find her sisters who are at a nearby bridge. She doesn't tell them of the horrific events of the evening, and takes them to go get dinner. Agnes soon moves to New York to pursue a career as an artist.


Jennifer Lawrence's father, Gary Lawrence, appears uncredited in the film as the basketball coach of the other team.


Critical response

The Poker House has received positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 80% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 5 reviews, with an average score of 6.2/10, making the film a "Fresh" on the website's rating system.

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