[Contains a suspicious amount of sofky and SPOILERS!!!]

Hailee Steinfeld as ‘Mattie Ross’ in “True Grit”In a classic case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, I was greatly enjoying the Coen brothers’ 2010 adaptation of True Grit, right up until the final scene.

It’s not that I needed the story to have a shiny, happy ending like the 1969 John Wayne version – if Mattie has to lose her arm to the snake bite and never see Rooster Cogburn again, then so be it – I’d just become so invested in the character, and Hailee Steinfeld’s remarkably assured performance as the feisty teenage girl out to avenge her
father’s murder, that I wanted to see how she reacted to these losses, rather than cutting to twenty-five years later, where the grown-up Mattie (played by some actress we’ve never seen before) reflects back on them from a dispassionate distance, and fails to meet the recently deceased Cogburn. It just felt deeply unsatisfying as an ending, even though it technically “resolved” the loose story threads, via its voice-over.

Hailee Steinfeld as ‘Mattie Ross’ in “True Grit”All it would have taken for me to consider this a 9-out-of-10, must-buy film is a scene of young Mattie waking up after her surgery, and being told that Cogburn had stayed by her side until he knew she was going to pull through, then headed off again… have her looking sad and confused and lost, keep the same adult voice-over explaining that she never saw him again, and roll credits! Instead… I’m not sure I’ll ever want to watch it again, regardless of how much I enjoyed everything that came before that final “flash-forward” scene. In truth it’s a very amusing, thrilling, and involving Western adventure… and a great credit to the Coens… but that anti-climactic, anti-cathartic ending really killed it for me.

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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2 Responses to Hoorawed

  1. Smash says:

    I never know what to expect from those Coen boys, but I sure do love all of their efforts. Sometimes they’re zany, sometimes they’re bleak, but they are always brilliant. I just never know which way they’ll go. Have you seen Fargo? I’d love to read your take on the incomparable Frances McDormand in that movie.

    • deecrowseer says:

      Yeah, the first draft of this post had a long intro about how I’ve been a Coen brothers fan since I was a teenager (20 years ago, sob!)… their output can be a little hit-and-miss, but imho Fargo is the best thing they’ve ever done, and one of my fave films of all time. Not sure I want to see it made into a TV series tho…

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