Friday, January 7, 2011

My Review of the 2010 Movie TRUE GRIT


POSTER FOR THE MOVIE

The December release of TRUE GRIT was the perfect holiday movie for me. I still love a plain old Western. Ahead of shooting, the writers and producers, the Coen brothers, said the film would be a more faithful adaptation of the novel by the same name than the 1969 version. The book is entirely in the POV of 14-year-old Mattie Ross, and her outlook is written with dry humor, making the book and their movie somewhat funnier than the old movie version.
The old version also ends differently than the book. In the 2010 version, we see Mattie 25 years later.
And last, the 1969 movie gave a sanitized version of the book probably because of the times.  
MY REVIEW:
***Personally, I didn't like the ending of this new version. Yes, it follows the novel, but I thought the story ended with the last scene before the epilogue.
***The black humor added depth and interest to the movie, too. It is violent, also, but not so much that I couldn't watch. (And I cannot watch a very violent movie.)


ROOSTER AND MATTIE
***The role of a drunk, a sloth, and a generally reprobate character like Rooster Cogburn was a perfect fit for Jeff Bridges. He played a similar character in CRAZY HEART, which seemed tailor-made for him.

 LaBOEUF

***Matt Damon played the Texas Ranger. If you're a fan of Texas Rangers, you might not like Matt's portrayal. Frankly, I thought it was quite funny, portrayed in a low-key way that only he can pull it off.
His style made me laugh.
***The musical score consisted of somber old-time hymns because the Coen brothers saw this story as somewhat spiritual. They pored over old hymnals for weeks, listening and choosing certain songs for specific scenes. Since music makes a movie for me, I applaud their style.

 TOM CHANEY
***Josh Brolin played Chaney, the man who murdered Mattie's father. He deserves some kind of award for his brief scenes. I was slow to realize the character was Brolin.
HAILEE STEINFELD 
She was superb and deserves an award.
***Here's an odd thing about the movie. Everyone spoke very good English, at times in flowing sentences with exact pronunciation of difficult words. Even the lowest scum spoke in this manner, mostly without contractions. The Coen brothers have a great love of language, and their violent R-rated movies have characters who often speak very well.
Quote from the Coens:
Mattie Ross "is a pill," said Ethan Coen in a December 2010 interview, "but there is something deeply admirable about her in the book that we were drawn to, including the Presbyterian-Protestant ethic so strongly imbued in a 14-year-old girl." Joel Coen said that the brothers did not want to "mess around with what we thought was a very compelling story and character". The film's producer Scott Rudin said that the Coens had taken a "formal, reverent approach" to the Western genre, with its emphasis on adventure and quest. “The patois of the characters, the love of language that permeates the whole film, makes it very much of a piece with their other films, but it is the least ironic in many regards."
The reviews give TRUE GRIT very high marks, and it has done well at the box office. I totally agree with the reviews. Loved it!   
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas  
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com http://www.celiayeary.comNew Releases

54 comments:

  1. Very concise "in depth" review. Now I want to see it and I'm not even a real Western fan. Thanks for the informative reivew. Linda

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  2. My son wants to take me to see this. Usually I wait for the DVD, but thanks to Celia's review, I think we'll go to the movies!

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  3. Hi Celia,
    I was worried about this movie, as I'm very wary of re-makes, but you definitely make me want to see it.
    I enjoyed your review.

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  4. I don't think it's considered a "remake" so much as a movie version of the book. As you rightly pointed out the first True Grit was a movie made for its time period.

    I saw it recently and thought it was excellent - one that i would buy when it comes out on DVD. The icon scene of Roster with the reins in his teeth, riding with both guns blazing did make me think of John Wayne.

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  5. Great review, Celia. Too bad Hailee Steinfeld isn't on the poster. I've heard she holds her own against the heavy weights.

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  6. Loved this movie. I went to see it with my sons. Tonight my son is going with a group of his friends, and making it a 'True Grit" night. With the exception of one scene, that I feel will always belong to the Duke, (yeap the final shootout with the reins in his mouth)Rooster is a role Jeff Bridge's played to perfection. I didn't realize Josh Brolin was in the move, until I read the credits. The entire cast did a super job. I will be getting this one on dvd. And watching it again, a time or two.

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  7. I saw the movie too, and was surprised that I liked it, since I am a John Wayne die hard fan. But it was well made, I'll give them that and all thes Bridges boys can act.

    It was more violent than the first one, especially cutting the fingers off, got me.

    Overall, I liked the movie much better than I first thought I would. I didn't care for the ending in this. Because in the first one I loved John Wayne's send off. "Little sister, if you ever have need of a old, one eyed fat man," I liked that, and the fact that Maddie had a place for him to be buried. The new ending was a disappointment, but sad too. The music contributed to the mood.

    Not bad, I wish they would keep making the westerns.

    The audience was packed in to see this one. So westerns are still popular.

    Love and blessings
    Rita

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  8. Sounds like an interesting movie with some talented actors. Thanks for giving us an idea of what to expect. :)

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  9. Well, I'm another die-hard John Wayne fan. I haven't read the book, but I suspect that the first movie was as much a vehicle for John Wayne as it was a portrayal of the book. Seems like most of the movies John Wayne was in sort of evolved out of his larger-than-life personality. ..... Anyway, my husband and I will probably watch this one when we get a chance.

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  10. I loved this movie. I cannot stop thinking about it and I plan to see it again - that is so rare!

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  11. Linda--I know you're not particularly a Western fan, so I am pleased you want to see it. It's worht it!Celia

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  12. Yea, Liana! You'll enjoy it, and I bet your son will, too. Celia

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  13. Rebecca--I know! I don't like remakes of any kind--now they're remaking old TV shows and doing a poor job of it, too! Since I didn't see the first one, I don't consider it a remake, for me. Celia

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  14. Mitzi--I like that, that it's a remake of the novel. The Coen brothers stuck to the script, which I always appreciate in a move. Few do it, though. Celia

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  15. Keena--I know! That irritated me, that Hailee was omitted from the poster. Just the big stars--the men! were on there. And the story is hers. Celia

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  16. GREAT REVIEW, CELIA! I can't wait to go see this. I have not heard one bad thing about this movie.
    Cheryl

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  17. I enjoyed your review very much, Celia. I also had the opportunity to see the film and thought Hailee Steinfeld as Maddie made the movie for me. She was outstanding!!!

    I like Jeff Bridges and feel he did a fine job as Rooster, but for me he mumbled a little too much and it was often difficult to understand him. I think he went a little too heavy handed on the dialect to perhaps separate his performance from that of John Wayne, and it came across (for me) like he often had a mouth full of marbles.

    Not a big fan of Matt Damon although I felt he did a fine job.

    For me one of the most memorable aspects of this film was the beautiful cinematography. There were moments where they really captured the desolation of winter, the breathtaking landscape, the endless starry skies so magnificently that one could not help but feel transported.

    I also preferred the 1969 ending. I just felt the transition to 25 years in the future was not smooth but rather harsh. I did not feel this ending added to the film, and the 'adult' Maddie was emotionless, cold and abrasive in her manner and attitude. The young Maddie might have been a 'pill' to the Coens, but she was also engaging, intelligent, compassionate, and full of spirit, which endeared her all the more to me.

    I am a diehard John Wayne fan, but feel the Coen version is just as good as the 1969 version -- better in some places and lacking in others. I would definitely add this one to my film library.

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  18. I've heard good things about this, including the host from AMC, who talked about the new movie before a showing of the old one, which I watched. He said that the new one was different because it was more true to the book. I really hated that the Texas Ranger died in the original. I always thought he and Maddie should have got hitched...

    I really want to see the movie, maybe I can get my husband to go with me this weekend. Thanks for the review.

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  19. I loved Jeff Bridges in Crazyheart and I look forward to watching this one as well. Great review, even though I just skimmed it. Didn't want to read any spoilers.

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  20. Celia, after Ken Burns' Civil War aired on PBS, I read somewhere that people in the 19th Century USA spoke and wrote as they did because they learned to read from McGuffey's Readers and the Bible. I don't doubt it; I've read some of McGuffey's Readers and it ain't, "See Spot run." No doubt the Coen brothers knew this, too. Thanks for a great review.

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  21. I am so glad to see so many posts about this great movie and the comments that "westerns may be coming back". Wheee-haaaa!

    Let me explain: My wonderful, talented gentleman friend write westerns (and Americana) and thinks he'll never get published. I, of course, tell him to keep trying and to keep writing....

    Mitzi, the paranormal, mystery woman's fiction writer who loves an old cowboy

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  22. I enjoyed your review, Celia. I haven't seen True Grit but definitely interested in seeing it after reading your review. I'm not a big Western fan of either books or movies (but I love your Westerns)so you convinced me to see it.

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  23. The John Wayne True Grit is on AMC tonight.

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  24. Yes, Keena--me, too. Of course, she's a new actress, and the big stars always get top billing. she'll have her day. Celia

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  25. DONNA--I'm glad you liked it. and your boys, too. We here at Sweethearts are trying to bring back the Westerns! Celia

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  26. RITA--I'm thrilled the movie was packed. That's good new for us Western fans. But the cutting off of fingers? I nor my husband remember that. I'm glad you liked the movie since you're a die-hard JW fan--you're one of many. Celia

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  27. Paisley--you're welcome. Let me know what you think of it when you see it. Celia

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  28. ANNA--another JW fan. You're right--the first one was made specifically to give John Wayne a movie to earn an oscar. He never won one his entire life until True Grit. Celia

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  29. JULIA--funny, after reading my review, my husband said he'd like to see it again. and He NEVER wants to see a movie twice. He said he guess he missed a lot the first time. Celia

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  30. CHERYL--Oh, do go see it. I think you'll love it--let me know what you think about the ending, and I'll tell you something about it. Celia

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  31. ASHLEY--I know what you mean about Jeff Bridges and the mumbling. Like you, I loved the cinematography, but I usually notice music in movies much more. I adored this musical score for this one. It fit perfectly. Celia

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  32. ANNA KATHRYN--oh, I wish I'd seen the interview on AMC. I love those. I think you'll like it--Celia

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  33. ADELLE--I don't blame you for skimming. However, I left out several important scenes so I wouldn't spoil the plot.
    You're the only one who mentioned Crazy Heart. We're near Austin, Texas, the "Live Music Capital of the World," or so they like to say. But in Crazy Heart, JB was a mixture of many old country-western singers around Texas--boozy, washed-up, but still singing.
    Celia

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  34. CONNIE--I never thought of that. Thanks for bringing it up. You've seen letters written in the Nineteenth Century and older, and the prose is remarkable--flowing sentences, and perfect English. I love to read old letters for that reason. Celia

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  35. MITZI--oh, I love Westerns so much. And your friend? I know three men who write Westerns and they have a difficult, if not impossible time getting published or recognized. Tell him to keep writing--there's always self-publishing which almost "in vogue" right now. Tell him to go for it! We may see one of his books as a movie one day. Celia
    P.S. thanks for the tip of TG on AMC tonight. Celia

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  36. DIANE--one new fan at a time, Diane! That's what we're aiming for. Celia

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  37. Thanks for the review, Celia. I can't wait to see the movie.

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  38. I love the John Wayne movie and wasn't sure why they'd remake such a great old film, but the previews looked intriguing.

    After reading your post, I definitely want to see this new version.

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  39. I'm a fan of both Charles Portis and the Coen brothers, so I'm doubly anxious to see this film.
    I like the original version, but--come on--John Wayne always played John Wayne. And they took some liberties with the book. If you haven't read Portis, please do. You won't be disappointed.

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  40. Thanks, Celia. I appreciate your perspectives on this movie. Really helped me decide whether or not to pay the theatre price. I rarely appreciate Coen Bros work.
    Joy Held
    Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity
    2011
    Who Dares Wins Publishing

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  41. I was skeptical about this one, too, since John Wayne is a favorite of mine. I still remember the first time I saw the 1969 version, I was young but both shocked and impressed when he said "Raise your hands, you son of a *****." Back then you didn't hear that in the movies every day. *G*

    I have it in my Netflix queue and will see it when it comes out on DVD-- but I'll probably watch The Duke's version again just to have a comparison.

    Thanks for the review, it really helped me decide whether or not to see it.

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  42. Very good review, Celia. Thank you. I'll look forward to seeing this now.

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  43. CAROLINE--I do hope you like it. Let me know--Celia

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  44. Great, Susan--you'll see an updated version, true to the book. Hope you like it--Celia

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  45. Thanks, JR--most of the Coen movies are way too violent for me, except for Oh, Brother Where Art Thou. I will check our Charles Cortis for sure. And thanks for the tip. Celia

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  46. joy--I understand what you're saying about the Coen brothers. This is their first PG movie, but Oh, Brother Where Art Thou wasn't heavy on the violence. It's the only one of theirs I've seen besides TG. Celia

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  47. Funny, Nicole. Yes, we were easily shocked in the 60s. I hope you'll enjoy it--it's different, for sure. Celia

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  48. Good, Danielle--you'll like it, I think. Loved the music and cinematography, too. Celia

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  49. Celia--I want to see this new version of the movie. I watched the old movie a few weeks ago and enjoyed John Wayne and the other characters very much. Thanks for the great review!

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  50. I am a true fan of John Wayne, so I was sort of 'mad' about them making this movie. Felt as though it were a betrayl...but then I saw it. It is so different that I don't even want to compare the two. They're both great movies and both deserve movie goers admiration!

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  51. I'm hoping to talk my husband into taking me to see it.

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  52. MARIN--we also watched the old version on AMC the other night since we'd never seen it. Some parts were identical. You could tell it was a 60s movie--pretty clean compared to the new movie.
    Thanks for commenting--Celia

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  53. HARRIS--I think you have said it right--it's not really a remake, it's a new version and is so different in many ways, they're definitely two movies. I like your take on it! Celia

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  54. PATY--hope you get to see it--every Western writer should, in my opinion. Celia

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