True Grit proves that a classic can be remade

In Brief

True Grit is an exception to the remake curse, and a film I could enjoy over and over again.

The Review

When my father heard they were remaking the 1969 classic, True Grit, he mumbled to himself, “Some things are better left alone.” And I would agree. Setting out to remake a film that revolutionized the industry is no easy task (just take a moment to remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Depp was no Wilder). Many have tried, and few have succeeded. In 2010, the Coen brothers succeeded.

In a time when the American western has all but vanished from the silver screen, True Grit reminds us what it was like in the days of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. It is exceptionally funny, well-acted, and heartfelt.

At fourteen, Hallie Steinfeld is incredible in her breakout performance as Mattie Ross – three parts tough and one part heart. Despite being the lead actress, her Oscar nod as “supporting actress” might just be enough to secure her the award. Has she been placed in the lead category, she would likely have been lost (along with everyone else) in Natalie Portman’s shadow. She is as riveting as she is beautiful playing the young runaway seeking revenge for her father’s murder. Her delivery is eloquent. Her stage presence is genuine.

Jeff Bridges continues his climb back from the acting grave playing the overly incomprehensible Marshall Cogburn and Matt Damon is sincere as the Texas Ranger, Mr. LaBoeuf.

The story itself is well-developed and well played, authentic even in its (warning!) treatment of Native Americans. The Coens don’t waste a moment or miss a beat.

Overall, True Grit proves that with the right combination of acting, writing, and direction, some classics can be remade. Honestly, I cannot wait to watch this film again.

Report Card

Acting

Directing

Writing

Soundtrack

A

A

A

A

 

Final Grade: A


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3 Replies to “True Grit proves that a classic can be remade”

  1. I agree completely. I’ve seen True Grit twice already and it was fantastic both times. I haven’t read the book, but apparently this version is much closer to how it was originally written.

    As for remakes, it seems that the Western Genre as a whole is very suitable to remakes because of the modern interpretation of how life truly was in that period. Ever since I saw the fantastic remake of 3:10 to Yuma with Russel Crowe and Christian Bale I’ve thought that we need more modern westerns. It’s a shame that the genre tends to under perform in theaters. Maybe True Grit will help to change that.

    1. Thanks for the comments. I agree with you 100%. Westerns do “remake” well generally. Unfortunately, I don’t think that True Grit, like the other once-in-a-while westerns of the last 10 years, will change the perception of the genre at the box office.

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