So hubs and I have this couple we’re bffs with, and we have this whole girls vs. boys thing going on. Seemingly, every time we try to think of something to do, Mel and I have one idea we’re totally set on and the boys come squash our plans with one of their own. We battle it out and attempt to be fair and civil, but sometimes the claws have to come out. Well, this weekend the boys came out victorious and we and we went to see True Grit instead of The Tourist. Mel and I weren’t exactly stoked about seeing a western, but we love our husbands and conceded.
Best. Loss. Ever. True Grit was not just pleasantly unboring; it was funny, inspiring, and wonderfully interesting. I should have known when I saw “Joel & Ethan Coen” on the movie poster, but what can this critic say? When the same genius responsible for Burn After Reading is also responsible for The Big Lebowski, all bets are off.
I was totally enthralled with Jeff Bridges’ subtle, old-drunk hilarity as U.S. Marshall “Rooster” Cogburn, and Matt Damon’s portrayal of the self-righteous Texas Ranger LaBoeuf was totally enhanced by the fact that we were watching the movie with a proud Texan. And little Hailee Steinfeld. This girl is going places. She IS the True Grit of the film and I was amazed at her performance as Mattie Ross.
As exasperated with remakes as I (and I think most audiences) have become, this is an exception to the rule and a true gem among book adaptations. According to this New York Times interview, the Coen brothers took a formal, reverent approach to the story, really allowing Charles Portis’ literary vision to come through. And with that vision came beautiful language.
Really, this movie is one I would watch again and again just to learn to talk like Steinfeld’s character, Mattie Ross. Basic contractions that define modern American dialect are missing, giving the fast-paced banter a genuine, straightforward tone. It kept me captivated (and laughing at the subtlety) from start to finish. But True Grit offers so much more than comedy. Mel and I jumped out of our skin a few times (there’s no sparing the audience of the violence of a manhunt) and the end is choc full of pathos. Yep, the heart strings were well stretched. Over all, it’s a smart, inspiring movie and one worth adding to the DVD collection.