Why I Loved “True Grit” and You Will Too (Spoiler Alert!)

Superb acting (Oscar worthy turns by Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges), beautiful cinematography (stunning albeit stark scenes from Texas and Colorado), clever script (they didn’t did not use contractions), and the usual creative Coen Brothers craftsmanship with an unusual (for them) straight genre Western, made for an entertaining Thursday evening at the movies.

True Grit had me at the beginning which was actually the end…of the tracks in vintage Ft. Smith. I was leaning forward in my seat as the out of tune piano plunked notes from my out of tune childhood.

You can almost smell the body odor of Jeff, I mean, Rooster, and lose your hand in his wrinkled life and speech until accidentally and quite despite himself—he discovers the hero hidden deep within.

Revenge exacts a heavy toll and as 14 year old Mattie guns down her fathers killer the Coens stunning metaphors caused me to sob audibly. (My life coach told me to jot down moments such as this, so maybe that is why you are reading these words.)

Maybe I am reading too much into it, but as the death shot was still echoing, Mattie plunges into an “inmost cave” filled with death and venom. Literally. She is poisoned by (what else?) a snake and must watch her beloved and aptly named “Blackie” sacrifice his life to save her. The pure white snow immediately begins to fall as Jeff, I mean, Rooster, carries the grown-up-way-too-soon adolescent to her salvation and his redemption.

Mattie loses an arm and eventually gains old maid status, still a small price to pay in good storyland, for her vengeful act.

Rooster never lays eyes on Mattie again, but gains a respectable job and a rare (for a bounty hunter) peaceful death in his older age.

Yep, I liked it. In fact, I loved it.

It was one of my “top 5” movies of 2011. Already.

I know I’m looking into the future a little, but I think I can confidently make that prediction. And that it will garner some Academy Award nominations, I am most sure.

How about you?

What did you think of it?

Should it have ended at the fade to black as Rooster collapses at the store?

Am I reading too much into it?

Not enough?

Thoughts?

23 Responses to “Why I Loved “True Grit” and You Will Too (Spoiler Alert!)”

  1. I so needed to hear this. I have yet to see it and hope I can before it leaves the theatres and launches the rest of it’s movie life on DVD. However, I am a huge John Wayne fan and Rooster Cogburn is almost sacred to me. I live in a town where the main parkway is named after him. The golf course near my house is called the Duke and so is my over sized gentle lab. Ok, so that may make me sound like an obsessed fan but I also live a few miles from an his old ranch Red River ranch. I’m just a fan and not a creepy one. I have a hard time when a classic is remade. The original Red Baron in black and white remains my favorite and I have seen all the remakes. So when I heard about this version of True Grit I thought Mr. Wayne would roll over in his grave. However, you are leading me to believe it will be standing on it’s own merit as if the first is a completely different story line. Wondering how others who have seen it feel.
    Carol´s last blog post ..2010 in review

  2. I loved it, too. Definitely one of my top five for 2011—even if we are only at the beginning of the year. I also think it will win Academy Awards.
    Michael Hyatt´s last blog post ..My Blackberry Is Not Working!

  3. Haven’t seen it yet, but I will.

    Roger Deakins cinematography is amazing. The first time I truly noticed his brilliance behind the camera was in the 1992 film ‘Thunderheart’ with Val Kilmer. He was also the director of photography for one of the best movies ever made, ‘The Shawshank Redemption.’

  4. Went to see it New Years Eve…LOVED IT!!!…Hailee Steinfeld reminded me SO MUCH of my youngest daughter…I kept saying ~ “That’s Shannon”…From her long brown braids, to riding her horse, to her “true grit” attitude…That, in itself, made it a thrilling and heart gripping movie…

    “You must pay for everything in this life. There is nothing free except for the grace of God” ~ True Grit

    Award winning, indeed!

  5. Randy, Top Five for me too. There were no actors in this film. It seemed like the real characters. The music was haunting. I knew all the words.
    Ken´s last blog post ..Confessions- Resolutions- and Discipline!

  6. I might suggest adding the words “spoiler alert” or some kind of warning at the top of this post that tells so much of the ending, since your title “…and you will, too” seems directed at those of us who have not seen it, but might want to let the story unfold onscreen and experience what you did in what seems like an awesome movie. Thanks for the great picture on it, though!

  7. This was the best of all possible worlds.

    Jeff Bridges is one of my favorites. (I’ve been secretely hoping he would play Atticus Finch if there were ever a remake of “To Kill A Mockingbird”)

    True Grit is one of my favorite movies from my childhood. I even owned the 45 single of the theme song Glenn Campbell sang. When he quoted John Waynes line “Fill your hands…” I about leapt out of my seat and cheered!!

    It’s “gritty” realism was impeccable. (thank God it wasn’t filmed in “Smell-o-Rama”)

    The little girl was perfect in her role as well as Matt Damon.

    I’m with ya…Top 5 of this year!!

  8. It will win awards, the acting is phenomenal. Loved the soundtrack too. I loved every moment of it, right up until the end. Covering 25 years in 3 minutes didn’t fly with me. Mattie was just tenacious enough that if she wanted to see the men, she would have found them. The Spiritual aspects of this movie are glorious.
    Audra Krell´s last blog post ..Leading Millennials

  9. Jillanne Johnso. January 8, 2011 at 21:48

    http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/12/20/2713152/chance-led-ruth-morris-to-true.html

    If you think the movie is good…check out the story of the body double for the grown-up Mattie. She’s a fellow TCU alumni and sorority sister and this article does her the justice she deserves.

  10. I too loved this movie. The main characters were stellar, but the best part of any Coen Brother’s film is the actors in somewhat minor roles. From the horse trader to the man in the bear hat, even the ferry operator, such great characters were created for this film. i love the two outlaws in the dugout, and Barry Pepper was absolutely brilliant as Ned. For those who didn’t like the ending, I will say the Coen’s are almost fanatical about staying true to source material and I love that about them. Randy, i’m so glad you enjoyed this film. It is one of my favorites from this year so far as well and I’m sure it will be receiving many nominations from the Academy.
    Chuck Harris´s last blog post ..a wonderful poem i found…

  11. Looking forward to it.
    Jeff Goins´s last blog post ..One Word for 2011- Dream

  12. Randy,

    I recently posted on FB and Twitter that True Grit was worthy of the 10 Oscars. It’s a pleasant surprise to see the Cohen Brothers continue their display of good vs. evil, but in a more humorous, less gratuitously violent way.

    I actually got a little teary-eyed at the end, as the Rooster was really showing “True Grit.” I had to look at the movie without the lens of the original to really appreciate it, kind of like looking at Scripture without our own misguided perceptions, commentaries, etc.!

    Thanks for the post!

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