And who says females aren’t strong, courageous, adventurous and ruthlessly intelligent negotiators? If in doubt, meet the 14-year-old whippersnapper, Mattie Ross (played by Hailee Steinfield) and the real star of the movie, True Grit. This Coen brothers remake of the legendary 1969 film, headlined by the iconic John Wayne, was originally based on the 1968 novel of the same name by Charles Portis. It is always a daunting undertaking remaking a Hollywood classic but this fresh version is wonderfully entertaining.
Sharp-witted and self-possessed, Mattie Ross leaves her grieving mother and siblings to hunt down the murderer of her father. However, this brazen girl is smart enough to know she needs help avenging the death of her Dad. This is when Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) comes into the film as a hard-drinking bounty hunter and Mattie’s hired gun. The two make unlikely verbal sparring partners, but it is their quick dialog and emotional scenes that carry the film.
Mattie is a hard-core adventurer and fiercely determined. She is a girl who not only knows her own mind, but she’s not afraid to speak it to anyone who will listen. Mattie gets the job done and she wants to do it herself. Her character traits are admirably independent, and while often impetuous, she embodies the persona of those self-reliant and purposeful American pioneers who settled the Wild West. And at the end of the day, this fast-paced film is a true American Western.
Yes, at the end of the day Mattie is saved by a man who chivalrously comes to her rescue. But with that said, this empowering young female character is morally upright, tough as nails, sharp as a whip and a real adventurer. Overall, you can’t go wrong talking going to see this exciting popcorn-popping film. If there was a message it would be that life is essentially about passions and purpose and along your journey there will be many extraordinary adventures. Go see it.