If you haven’t seen True Grit, beware of spoilers.
True Grit shines with the Coen brothers at the helm of this modern day remake of the John Wayne classic. What a shock this movie was to me. I was expecting a gritty performance from Jeff Bridges, who has developed quite a range of character-acting abilities in his modern roles. As expected, Bridges delivered.
But, it was a break-out performance from 13 year old actress Hailee Steinfeld (as Mattie Ross) that impressed me immediately. She anchored the film with a realistic portrayal of a young girl, grief stricken, but motivated by a sense of justice to find the scoundrel responsible for the brutal killing of her father. Hailee Steinfeld delivered a no cheese, no syrup performance; something rare to achieve as a young actress. I haven’t seen such an outstanding young performance since Keisha Castle-Hughes played the lead in the instant classic Whale Rider. I can’t wait to see Hailee in other films!
I wasn’t sure Hollywood had access to any fresh talent, especially after M. Night Shyamalan destroyed The Last Air Bender. Do yourself a favor: if you are thinking about putting The Last Airbenderby M. Night Shyamalan on your Netflix que, just slap yourself instead. It will hurt less than watching his adaptation (read as: dreadful mutation) of the classic and imaginative cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. (Don’t be afraid to watch cartoons, people! This one’s a must see!)
Ah, yes! Hailee Steinfeld has given me some hope for Hollywood’s future. In a landscape of over-processed, over-digitized, over-enhanced, and weak-scripted box-office-grade movies, this one stands out. The violence in the movie can be abrupt, and I can’t compare it to the 60’s original that I haven’t yet seen. But, I would definitely recommend this movie to those of you who have the guts to withstand periodic violence in the name of justice. The quintessential violent scene: Matt Damon’s Texas Ranger character gets a serious tongue injury from a scuffle with a bad guy, but he doesn’t stay quiet for long. (Don’t we all hope for a silent Matt Damon sometimes?)
If you haven’t seen True Grit yet, you’re missing Hailee’s awesome performance. Check out the True Grit Trailer (Courtesy of Paramount) if you need more persuasion.