At least I liked it

Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn

We have a little difference of opinion here at blog headquarters.  I think True Grit , the new version, is one of the greatest movies ever made.  Gail thinks it sucks.

Joel and Ethan Coen, writers and directors, have brought a depth and scope to this classic western tale that took my breath away.    The movie is a classic tale about revenge and redemption, about keeping to your principles, standing up for yourself and remembering your purpose in life.

The sets and costumes are beautiful–when the opening scene pans wide to show the entire town I just wanted to go there and be part of it.

The acting, though, is what will make this film a classic.  Jeff Bridges brings a depth to Rooster Cogburn that John Wayne never attempted.  He is a man with no illusions about himself–although he is a Federal Marshall, he “sleeps on a rope bed behind a chinaman’s grocery store”, is an alcoholic and utterly merciless about killing bad guys.  This is no romantic, crusty but benign romantic comedy hero, he’s the real deal.

I always like Matt Damon, and his performance as Le Boeuf  just reinforces that.  His preening, smug, pompous self-righteousness balances his sense of honor and dedication.  He isn’t the man Rooster is, but he’ll do in a pinch.

Young star Hailie Steinfeld at a mere fourteen somehow has the acting chops to stand up to her luminous co-stars. It would be easy for her to be overwhelmed by Bridges but she holds her own and makes him respect her.

I liked everything about True Grit. Sitting there in the theater I found myself just smiling watching the story unfold.  Whoever did the lighting on this was brilliant–he uses a technique to light up the night that is magical, without looking phony.

It isn’t a fairy tale–they don’t all live happily ever after.  It’s reality, some things work out, some don’t, but you can feel the strength of the characters and it ennobles them and you.  It’s a great movie, and one we will enjoy for years to come.



It’s a fairy tale.  Fourteen year old girls don’t act that way and Rooster wouldn’t have given her the time of day. I hated it.





2 thoughts on “At least I liked it

  1. One point about the precociousness of young Mattie is that the story is told through the recollection of adult Mattie. This makes the characters and the story innocently stylized, and thereby the themes of the film are more clearly portrayed. The way characters are rendered and the story told makes us *feel* the story more keenly. At least it did for me. Besides, aren’t all movie characters caricatures? Don’t we always need to suspend our disbelief to some extent to hear what a movie is trying to tell us and make us feel? I’m sorry to hear that this movie’s caricatures interfered with Gail’s enjoyment. Not me!

    I feasted on this movie and look forward to seeing it again. Particularly, the characters were compellingly portrayed, the dialog was delightful, and the cinematography set a new standard. See it in a theater.

    As much as I enjoyed True Grit, I am still trying to come to grips with the ending. I found it unsatisfying and jarringly sad. I’ve heard that it was true to Prentis’ book, but that doesn’t explain much. Was it’s point to remind us that the whole story is romanticized? That life isn’t happily-ever-after? Help!!!

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