Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 9 out of 10
Director: Ethan and Joel Coen
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon
Genre: Western, Adventure, Drama
Runtime: 110 minutes
Original Version: True Grit (1969)
When fourteen year old Mattie Ross's (Steinfeld) father is killed in a drunken rage by gunman Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), she makes it her life's mission to see him hang for his crimes. However, after the murder, Chaney ran away and joined ranks with a band of outlaws. To track him down, Mattie enlists the assistance of Marshal Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn (Bridges), the meanest, drunkest, most ornery marshal around, old and fat and one-eyed. It's only reluctantly that she is able to get him to come with her, and once he does, they are both aided and hindered by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Damon), who also wants to arrest Chaney, but plans on retrieving him for a bounty in Texas, where he killed a senator; whereas Mattie wants him to know that he killed her father and that is why he is being hanged.
They often say that the remakes aren't as good as the original, and I'm sure that for most die-hard John Wayne fans, the same holds true for True Grit. However, since I haven't seen the original, I'll be able to give a less biased opinion.
I thought that True Grit was absolutely wonderful! Even though it was a drama, and said to be darker than the original, I thought that it was hilarious at many points and very touching at others. Jeff Bridges was wonderful as the rough, drunken marshal. His Rooster Cogburn was very funny, especially when drunk. His sassy attitude and smart mouth made him a character that you liked in spite of yourself.
Matt Damon was wonderful as LaBoeuf the Texas Ranger, and Josh Brolin was a very convincing villain. However, I have to say that it as Hailee Steinfeld who stole the show. Her portrayal of little Mattie Ross was not only incredibly convincing, but amusing, too. She's so serious for someone so young, and absolutely adorable at the same time. One of the best scenes is where she attempts to bargain a sale of some of her late father's horses back to the man who sold them to him in the first place.
I think the best part though, would have to be the cinematography. The scenery was beautiful and made you feel like you were right there in the "Wild West" of Arkansas.
However, there are a few things that you might want to be aware of. For those of you who have seen the original True Grit, this film is a lot edgier. Furthermore, there is one scene in particular which I thought was a little too intense for a PG-13 movie. I won't provide a spoiler about what happens, but I'll give you a heads up that it takes place when Rooster and Mattie are in the cabin.
All in all, this is a film that I truly enjoyed. If you like Westerns, then this is a must. Personally, I'm not a fan of Westerns for the most part, but I loved this movie. Also, to give you the opinion of my dad (a huge John Wayne fan), this was very good for a remake, and better than he expected it to be. Rating: 8.5