Monday, December 27, 2010

True Grit (Movie Review)

Last night my parents and I headed up over to the Cine Capri in Scottsdale to see True Grit. My mom remembered the original fondly, and was convinced that my dad and I would like it (despite neither of us having seen the original).

The story is that a man is killed by a drifter, and the man's 14yr old daughter, Maddy, decides that it is her responsibility to see the man caught and brought to justice - since no one else seems to care. She hires a drunken US Marshal, named Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), to search for the killer. She says that he's the one she chooses because he has "true grit." Along the way, they team up with and spar with a Texas Ranger named Le Beouf (Matt Damon).

The dictionary defines grit as "indomitable spirit or pluck" - which ironically, is the thing that the young woman has in spades and that by her sheer presence others develop or display. In some ways, this young woman reminds me of Anne Shirley (of Green Gables fame) whose very outlook on life causes others to reconsider how they've been living. While Maddy does not have Anne's happy outlook on life, she does have a courageous sense of justice and stubborn opinion about how justice should be pursued. When others balk at her resolve or question her decision to find the killer, she fixes them with a steely-eyed gaze that shames them into going along with her plan. Along the way, she grows up a bit, and melts the hearts of the hardened men along the road.

As expected from the Coen brothers, the cinematography is great, and the script is very tight. There are beautiful landscapes of the plains, forests, and mountains. There are lots of moments of silence and staring, but  somehow it doesn't seem uncomfortable or awkward. Maddy is charming and watching it, you desperately want her to succeed on her quest. Rooster is hardened, but as in all good stories, has a soft heart. La Beouf is a braggart, but funny, and brave.

True Grit is definitely one of my favorites of 2010. I give it a solid 5 $10 ponies out of 5. See this one in the theater if you can!


Erin said...

We saw this one on Christmas day. I liked it too...and thought the title was more about the girl's true grit than Rooster's too. She stole the show! c

kevin said...

great review. i look forward to this one. we're in saint louis currently, so we're trying to squeeze in all the films that are not playing in our small texas town, such as BLACK SWAN and THE KING'S SPEECH. still, i'm glad for this post. you've convinced me to see this first thing upon our return to texas.

Tiffani R said...

I can completely understand your plan to watch as many movies as possible in the Lou that aren't playing in CS. I am trying to see as many movies as possible that my parents will pay for! (LOL but seriously)

I totally want to see The King's Speech. I'm nervous about Black Swan - looks almost too creepy, but sounds like a must-see just for Portman's performance. I want to hear what you think about both, Kevin.

For sure, when you get back to College Station, you should check out True Grit. You and L-to-the-T will really enjoy it, I think. Mattie has pluck - just like your lady.