Friday, December 31, 2010

True Grit

Proverbs 28:1 are the opening lines to the recent re-make of this John Wayne movie.

The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

Actually the Coen Brothers left off the second line, but I'm including it because it's just as important.

Before heading to the local theater and forking over too much money, we watched the 1969 film on DVD at home.  While the younger crowd thought the first was *cheesy*, I loved it and looked forward to seeing how Hollywood would *update* it.

In short, well done!

I give five stars to both versions and have added Mattie Ross to my top-five list of cinematic heroines.

Talk about true grit.

Mattie's character surpasses Rooster on many levels, modeling admirable traits ~

1)  Family loyalty, i.e. honor thy father (and mother)
2)  Negotiation skills, par excellance
3)  Educated, manners and diction
4)  Determination, appropriately channeled  and
5)  Maturity, beyond her years but not misguided

Overall, I preferred Hailee Steinfeld's interpreation and presentation of Mattie.

What do you think?

PS Do you own the book on which the film is based?


  1. Haven't seen/don't own any of the above. My husband said he read somewhere that the Coen brothers made this movie from the book and not as a remake of the original movie. I thought that was an interesting distinction.

  2. Yes, Dawn. That is an interesting distinction.

    What is meant by it?

  3. Well, first, even people like the Coen brothers are still reading books (yay!)

    And, second, as I haven't seen either film (and am unlikely to), maybe you could comment as to any similarities or contrasts between the films.

  4. We watched the John Wayne version earlier this week and I liked it, though I didn't care for Kim Darby's portrayal of Mattie. I've never read the book (for which my mom, who's visiting us from Arkansas, scolded me, the author being a fellow Arkansan and all) but the movie made me want to. I'd heard that the remake was less like the book, so it's interesting to read that some feel it's more like it. I don't usually like remakes, but it's sounding like this one will be good.

  5. As a general rule, I dont like to compare books and films. Compare book to book and film to film, okay. And since, I have read Portis's book, I dont want to comment on its style etc.

    What is interesting, as Dawn alluded, is comparing and contrasting the two films. I just think that makes for interesting conversation with my offspring.

  6. Kelly, I think Mattie's hairstyles say something:

    earlier version was a bob (short) which I have trouble with because my preconcieved notion is that women (even *liberal* ones) didnt wear their hair short at that time;

    later version of pigtails (as shown) is a better fit ~ think stereotypical Pippi Longstocking

  7. copied with permission from FB comment,

    Hilary who needs a blog!


    "We have not seen the remake but I am looking forward to it. Jeff Bridges has matured into an actor whose work I enjoy. Mike and I, separately and unbeknownst to one another as youths in 1969, and in full agreement now, have felt that Kim Darby was the most annoying caricature of Mattie Ross. I look forward to seeing Miss Steinfeld's acting. And as far as true grit is concerned, even in today's spiritual economy where animal courage is run amok over moral courage, and girls seek womanhood too early and for all the wrong reasons (imho,) I doubt any girl/young lady would be willing, alone, to seek out a lawman who would work with her to track down and bring to justice her father's killer. There would be plenty of false bravado and chatter, but no action. Mattie Ross is, indeed, a heroine for all time. "I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains" is a word well spoken for all-time (thank you Wm.Shakespeare!)"

  8. Here's an article talking about wanting to make a movie because of the book.