Let me preface this by saying, I’m not a professional movie reviewer. I (Katie) never went to film school, never studied the technicality of it, and although I danced on stage for the first half of my life, I never acted (well, speaking words, that is). I go to movies to be entertained. Usually I have fun for a couple hours and leave the theater not regretting the $8.00 I just spent. Well, let me tell you, True Grit was worth every penny many times over!
I’m too young to have seen the original so you won’t see any comparisons here, but based on my opinion, this movie is absolutely Oscar worthy. From the first moments in the film, the viewer is drawn into a world of the Wild West, led by Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, a 14 year old forced to take care of her father’s affairs and find his murderer when the law won’t do it for her. This young lady is one to watch. I imagine very few young actresses could hold their own and then some with the likes of veterans Jeff Bridges & Matt Damon, and she did it stunningly. In the course of trying to avenge her father’s death, she is aided by the aforementioned Bridges as US Marshal Rooster Cogburn and Damon as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, men who each in their own way show they have true grit. Oh yeah, and Josh Brolin is in it as the bad-guy murderer, but in my humble opinion, should not have been given third billing (yeah yeah I know he got it not for his role but for his family name).
Why would this be a movie for GG to review, you might ask? It doesn’t feature a butt-kicking, gun-wielding heroine like some of our other favorite movies… at least not in the typical sense. But let me tell you, Mattie Ross is a young woman who is empowered because of her circumstances and instead of leaving business to men, takes things into her own hands.
The movie opens with the following Bible verse:
“The wicked flee when no man pursueth” Proverbs 28:1
Miss Ross decides to pursue thus not allowing the wicked to flee (so perhaps the quote should say “when no WOman pursueth”!).
I don’t know much about what life was like back then, but I imagine a 14-year-old girl showing as much “grit” as Mattie Ross did were frowned upon (there’s an unforgettable scene between LaBoeuf and Ross that, when seen through today’s lens, might be considered appalling, but I imagine back then it was not uncommon). And, of course, she does get two shots off her father’s Colt Walker 1847 by the end of the film.
Not surprisingly, these two shots knock her on her ass, as this gun is much too large for her. This leads to a great exchange between Steinfeld and Brolin who plays Tom Chaney, Mattie’s father’s murderer. He says something about Mattie playing with guns instead of dolls when she was a child, to which she responds, “If I knew about guns, I would have chosen one that didn’t miss.” That might be one of the best movie lines ever written (and, by the way, I realize I didn’t get it exactly correct – please forgive me this one – the quotes are not up on imdb.com yet but as soon as they are, I will update it with the correct one!).
I don’t like to give away too much in my movie reviews, but I give this movie two, shining guns up. And if I don’t see these actors on stage at the Oscars this year, I will be very disappointed!
And if you’d like to see Miss Steinfeld talking about some training she did for the movie, including going shooting for the first time, check out this interview on imdb.com: http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi888838169/