The backstory: True Grit is nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards: Best Supporting Actress, Hailee Steinfeld, and Best Actor, Jeff Bridges.
The basics: Based on the novel by Charles Portis, True Grit, is not a remake of the John Wayne version of the film. It is a new adaptation and true to the gritty roots of westerns. Young Mattie Ross ventures to the big city to claim her father's body and vows to get vengeance from the man who murdered him.
My thoughts: I used to freely admit I didn't like westerns. I thought they were outdated and sexist. After seeing True Grit, I'm woman enough to admit it: I like westerns. True Grit is a delightful mix of modern and classic. Hailee Steinfeld is a revelation. Yes, she is just as bad-ass as she appears in the ads, but the true beauty of her performance are the times she shows her fear and vulnerability. She is fourteen, and she looks fourteen, she mostly doesn't act fourteen. Her courage is admirable, as well as somewhat reckless, but you cannot help but root for her.
Matt Damon, hilariously costumed as a fringe-loving Texas Ranger, is a delightful match for Hailee Steinfeld. The two engage in rapid fire dialogue worthy of Aaron Sorkin. His character could easily be one-dimensional, but his small, supporting role contains immense nuance. He plays LaBoeuf with an impressive mix of bravado and contrition.
The one weak spot for me: Jeff Bridges. It pains me to say it, but his enunciation was so horrendous almost half of his dialogue was unintelligible. It got better as the film went on, but if I were at home, I would have turned on the closed captioning.
The verdict: Despite my foolish misconception that I didn't like westerns, I loved this film. It was a fascinating journey with fantastic acting and crisp dialogue. There was adventure and intrigue in Mattie Ross's tale. The lawlessness of the country seems almost dystopian to my modern sensibilities, and I was surprised how much I loved this film.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5 stars)
Length: 110 minutes
Release date: It's in these theaters now
Source: I paid to see it at the Spectrum Theatres
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