True Grit

Tendency for depicting life stories of teenage girls is rather trendy these days. Coen brothers presented the western film called “True Grit” in 2010, and the film was primarily about a teenage girl as well. However, they went far from conventional roads beaten by Peter Jackson’s “Lovely Bones”, Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In” and so on. Coens’ western takes place in the Wild West right where it should, and the heroine is a typical cowgirl with a pair of ponytails.

It’s worth to mention, that this movie is the second attempt of screen adaptation of “True Grit” novel (1968) by Charles Portis. International gross box office of the film reached $161,000,000 by February, 2011.

And so this protagonist – Mattie Ross embarks on a road of vengeance riding a horse and wearing a hat. Her character comprises all features of an idealistic revolutionary, which is probably also typical for a teenage mind. Nevertheless, she is conscious enough to be responsible and acute, and she somehow proves to be capable of altering the dying world of American cowboys. The good news is that she’s not alone. She hires another guy Rooster Cogburn (played by Jeff Bridges) to team up, and lately their company gathers one more ranger, LaBoeuf (played by Matt Daemon). Surprisingly, all actors do a great job in living completely into western scenery, they suit it very well actually.

Besides, the movie is peculiar with direction of Coen brothers, with their proprietary vision of screen story. Viewer can notice the features inherent in Coens’ works. Firstly, it is honest and accurate reviving of the atmosphere of the time when events take place. Even the smallest detail isn’t lost in this approach. The picture reconstructs the Wild West times in such an organic flavor that no clue of “modernity” can be felt. There is nothing excessive and extra-natural, and yet the portrait of the Wild West is very vivid and breathing.

Secondly, a big deal of the story consists of heartfelt dialogs. Characters speak a lot. And by saying “a lot”, I mean really lot. This peculiarity of the movie make a bit for its tediousness, however such dialogs are irreplaceable for pictures that need to reconstruct and revitalize the everyday life of the past time. A bright point in this ton of talking is that many problems get magically solved during such heartfelt conversations. At some point the viewer starts to understand that neither decorations nor costumes can make the atmosphere of the Wild West times, in fact exactly heartfelt talks are recognizable feature of that epoch.

Context of the epoch is depicted in a manner so thin that you don’t have any doubt about the reality of the Wild West on screen. Altogether, the story itself is curious and hilarious, since if we refer to the history of the Wild West and the role of teenage girls in that realm, we will notice some difference. But after all, Coen’s film is more mythological and epic in its core than solely historic. From what we see in the film, we can make a conclusion that directors’ priority was to convince the viewer that the vivid story of their vision is real.

The subject of female emancipation, which barely figured in that period, is depicted with respect to a modern trivia. And so there are many senses behind dialogs throughout the movie, bearing underlying messages here and there.

To sum it all up, the movie looks monumental, visually subtle, and accurate in depiction. Infinite replaying of slow-paced (in terms of action) situations, which can be interpreted differently, make up for the picture’s aura of mysteriousness and unique Coens’ esthetics. The picture manages to accentuate the problems of the past epoch like never seen before, and through the eyes and mind of a young lady.

True Grit trailer

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