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.
***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.
***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.
***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.
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