Sunday, January 2, 2011

True Grit

Absolutely one of the Coen Brother's best films, and I am generally someone who finds something to love about each and every one of their movies. After three films brimming with misanthropy and meaninglessness they make a movie that might be their most straightforward and sentimental, a heartfelt Western about revenge in which the story is moved forward by character and not by the cruel circumstance of the world. I don't think there is a single false note in this film, or a single moment when a Coen flourish gets in the way of the narrative. There are also no bad performances but two stood out for me: Barry Pepper as Lucky Ned, memorable in his brief scenes, and Hailee Steinfeld as Matty Ross. She is in every scene in the movie and completely carries it; she is reminiscent of Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon.

This film is also a tribute to the Charles Portis novel on which it is based. A great deal of the dialogue is lifted verbatim from the page, and I loved that the Coens kept the coda from the book with the forty-year-old Matty. Yes, it's bleak but I think it's crucial to understanding the novel, that Matty is symbolic of an America that is completely gone, for better or for worse.


  1. Yes, an excellent film; saw it twice already. Loved it.

  2. Never saw the original, I don't think. Well, if I did I don't remember it. But this looks very good. I like your brief review. I think I'll line this one up at Netflix.