True Grit

True Grit Review

500 Days Of Film Reviews True Grit And Finds A Humorous And Moving Western With Added Grrr…

After the cold-blooded murder of her father, fourteen year old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) decides to hire a US Marshal to track down his killer -  the coward Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin).

She enlists the help of drunken Marshal, Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and, despite his objections, joins him in a dangerous manhunt through Indian territory.  

Her father’s killing is not the only crime that Chaney has committed, however. He is wanted for the murder of another man and Texas Ranger LeBoeuf (Matt Damon) is also tracking him down.

Mattie must get there first to honour her father and her family. 

Is It Any Good?

I loved this film and I am not a huge western fan.

I am a big Cohen brothers fan, however, and this movie has their awesome fingerprints all over it.

The writing is superb - the  script feels true to the time and is beautifully formal and wonderful to hear. A word of warning. I could only understand about 60% of what Jeff Bridges said. Growly just isn't in it.

I know that this caused some frustration with audiences but I always more than got the gist. 

Bridges' portrayal of Rooster Cogburn is fabulous. He is tough, dirty, drunken and did I mention the growly? Yet he is also hugely engaging, sympathetic and, at times, plain hilarious.

Hailee Steinfeld is superb as Mattie - who, despite her youth, is more than a match for the adults that surround her. She is a formidable character and not one to be underestimated.

I also loved Matt Damon’s LeBoeuf - he plays this ridiculous character so, so well - with heart and humour.

True Grit is beautifully shot - there are incredibly cinematic wide open spaces. The environment is tough and cold but gorgeous nonetheless.

True Grit is a film that I didn’t expect to like as much as I did. No, I didn’t like it - I loved it from the opening scenes to its emotional ending.

Random Observations

This film is an adaption of the 1968 novel by Charles Portis. It was famously made into a film in 1969 starring John Wayne. I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t read the source novel or watched the original film and so I cannot say how similar or different this version is. 

Having watched the trailer for the John Wayne film, I am quite tempted to give it a watch to see how the two compare.  

Here are the two film trailers - isn't it interesting to see how trailers have developed over the years!

True Grit - John Wayne 1968

True Grit - Jeff Bridges 2010

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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