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The 2010 film, True Grit, retains the feel of a classic Western, abounding in gun fights, cocky outlaws, and cowboy jargon, all executed with a truly exceptional cast. The movie follows the life of a strong-hearted girl named Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), as she seeks out a bounty hunter (equipped with her father’s pistol) to avenge her father’s murder. In her efforts she finds a man named Reuben J. Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), known for having True Grit. What she discovers, however, is quite disconcerting. He proves to be an obstinate, lazy, egotistic man who takes kindly to alcohol and the like. Mattie, however, refuses to stand down, and soon recruits the man after much persistence. On their journey they accompany a Texas Ranger who goes by the name of LeBoeuf (Matt Damon). Mattie, who had already been acquainted with him back in town, doesn’t take too kindly to him and after a few snide remarks, the ranger whips out his belt in anger and promptly spanks her. After a torrent of protests from the girl, Cogburn draws his gun on LeBoeuf and after a slight quarrel between the two, they part company. As Mattie and Cogburn journey on, they find a hanging corpse, a wandering bear-skin-wearing doctor, and interrogate a suspicious duo. Following these events, they acquire enough information to set a trap for the murderer, though instead become involved in a chaotic shoot-out between their party and a group of outlaws. LeBouef, who somehow managed to be entangled in the firefight, gets mistakenly shot by Cogburn, and decides to rejoin them in their search for the outlaws. After many more days, the group loses their morale and Marshall Cogburn decides to retire from the quest, determining they’ve come upon a cold trail (LeBoeuf also leaves, but not before starting a sort of friendship with Mattie). The morning of their departure, however, new events determine otherwise. As Mattie retrieves water from the river, she spots her father’s murderer Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), who, followed by the girl’s failed attempt at intimidation, kidnaps her and takes her back to the gang. In short, LeBouef rescues her, the marshall arrives in time to kill off the remaining outlaws, and the movie jumps forward some twenty years in Mattie’s life, where she retains a chosen widowhood. THE END.
In conclusion, the film as stated before, retains the qualities of a classic Western, though with a very melancholy conclusion. The cast is made up of well-seasoned actors, and a rising young actress. Matt Damon made for a very amusing LeBoeuf, adding a spark of personality and likeability… except for the scene where he spanks Mattie. Mr. Bridges conveyed a very convincing Marshall Cogburn, sustaining the character’s groggy air in movement and speech. Hailee Steinfeld, who has never before acted in a full-length film before True Grit, gave a tremendous effort in portraying Mattie Ross, receiving the honor of Best Actress in a Support Role . The film is rated PG-13 for it’s violence and possibly crude language (as there is a deal of cursing). I wouldn’t recommend it for the family setting, taking these two factors into account. It’s rather more appropriate for, as Common Sense Media determines, ages 15+. For Christian families, however, there’s even more things to look out for, regarding which I refer to Pluggin.com‘s review. I must say it’s a dark movie in terms of how it plays with the emotions, and the tone it would seem to take – the concept of revenge is ever-present, and the one-armed, widowed Mattie provides for a very dreary ending.