True Grit | Chicago Reader

True Grit

Rated PG-13 110 minutes 2010

Charles Portis's wonderful comic novel True Grit (1968) had the combined fortune and misfortune of being instantly made into a John Wayne western, which won the star his first Oscar and ultimately eclipsed the book. This remake by Joel and Ethan Coen is being positioned as a truer True Grit, and though they take their own liberties with the plot and tone, they preserve Portis's impeccably authentic dialogue, which does more to conjure up the Arkansas of the 1870s than any period trappings. They've also returned the focus to Portis's poker-faced narrator, a prim, judgmental 14-year-old girl (newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) who hires the drunken, one-eyed U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn to track down her father's killer. Jeff Bridges manages to wrest Cogburn away from Wayne, who made the character a repository for his own screen legend, and Matt Damon is funny as Cogburn's disgruntled trail partner, a self-glorifying Texas Ranger. With Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper.

Film Credits

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Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Producer: Scott Rudin, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Steven Spielberg, Robert Graf, David Ellison, Paul Schwake and Megan Ellison

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Hailee Steinfeld, Dakin Matthews, Jarlath Conroy, Paul Rae, Elizabeth Marvel, Roy Lee Jones, Ed Corbin, Leon Russom, Bruce Green, Candyce Hinkle and Peter Leung

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