''The Poker House'' is a 2008 independent drama film, based on the true story of writer/director Lori Petty's childhood. Agnes, played by JenniferLawrence, is a 14-year-old high school student. She gets straight A's, works two jobs and is a star basketball player. Her mother, Sarah, played by SelmaBlair, is a prostitute who brings home different men every night and is regularly beaten by her pimp. Also in the family are two other girls, 12-year-old Bee and 8-year-old Cammie.
!!Provides examples of:
-->I race the sun home in the morning, and the moon up at night. Anything can happen, and anything does. There's just today. Then there's tonight.
-->Mother God Lord Jesus fuckin Christ Almighty, somebody shut the door!
* TheCutie: Agnes during her errands is friendly, outgoing, cheerful and well liked. [[AbusiveParents Her attitude at home is another story...]]
* DawsonCasting: Somewhat justified, [[HarmfulToMinors given the subject matter]], but 14-year-old Agnes is played by 18-year-old Jennifer Lawrence.
* DisappearedDad: The girls' father was an abusive priest. The family moved across the country to escape him.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: A retroactive example. In her first movie, JenniferLawrence plays a girl in over her head in tough situations with [[DisappearedDad no father]], a somehow rendered useless mother, and one or more younger siblings to watch. Which is pretty much her role in both ''WintersBone'' and ''Film/TheHungerGames''.
* HeroicBSOD: Agnes has one after being [[spoiler:raped]], when she is in the bathtub and her mom has just left. See also KickTheDog.
* HopeSpot: In the bathroom scene, despite the fact that every scene we see Sarah in, she is somehow tormenting her daughter, Agnes still reaches out to her pitifully. Sarah walks toward Agnes for ''just'' long enough the audience thinks it might become a PetTheDog moment, then [[KickTheDog Sarah sprays some perfume and tells Agnes to go to the store.]] [[TearJerker It simply goes]] [[FromBadToWorse downhill from there.]]
* KarmaHoudini: We never see anything bad actually happen to the pimp.
* KickTheDog: Daughter very distressed after [[spoiler:being raped by your pimp]]? Is she reaching out to you, longing to be held? [[TearJerker Better ignore her emotions completely and verbally abuse her some more.]] See HeroicBSOD.
** A second example occurs shortly after, when the mother chooses the pimp over her daughter.
* MoodWhiplash: Many examples. The most notable are:
** After last seeing Agnes being abused a few scenes earlier, she goes to the newspaper where she works and jokes around with everyone there. Cut to Bee hiding in her room, barricading the door and practicing her saxophone.
** Agnes goes home after her errands and scares Bee by climbing in the window and having a relatively lighthearted conversation. Cut to the party where [[spoiler:Agnes is raped]]. [[FromBadToWorse It gets worse from there,]] until she goes to the basketball game and the tone shifts back to hopeful and excited when she thinks of all the people who love her. Back to depressing when she breaks down in the car following the game, then ''back'' to upbeat, singing in the car with her sisters. MoodWhiplash indeed.
* PluckyGirl: The three daughters maintain remarkably positive attitudes, considering their environment.
-->[[spoiler:MOM. This motherFUCKER just raped me!]]
* RapeAsDrama: [[spoiler:Agnes.]]
* StockholmSyndrome: The mother has a case of this with the pimp. Agnes herself with the pimp, to some extent. [[spoiler:Until he rapes her.]]
* TraumaCongaLine: Agnes' is long and varied. Her father abused her whole family, her mother seems to take a certain pleasure in belittling her, she is threatened at knife point, and [[spoiler:raped by the pimp.]] You WILL want to give her a hug when she is in the bathtub. Made especially difficult to watch by JenniferLawrence's stunning performance.
* TheUnintelligible: The black man who spends the day with Cammie at Dolly's.