When her dad is killed by Chaney(Josh Brolin), Mattie Ross(Hailee Steinfeld) decides to apprehend him. In order to do this, Mattie searches for a Marshal with true grit. She finds one in the old drunken Marshal Rooster Cogburn(Jeff Bridges). She strikes a deal with Cogburn and agrees to pay him for his services. There is one condition. Mattie will be accompanying Cogburn in the mission.
Soon, Mattie finds a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf(Matt Damon) who is also interested in capturing Chaney. But LeBoeuf plans to take Chaney back to Texas. Even though Mattie tries to prevent a meeting between LeBoeuf and Cogburn, she is unsuccessful. Both men go off on the hunt without Mattie. But Mattie follows them and finally both men relents. The hunt turns out to be life altering experience for Mattie.
Joel and Ethan Coen – the Coen brothers – adapts the novel by Charles Portis and also directs it. The movie is different from the earlier adaptation starring John Wayne in many ways. Although there are minor changes from the novel, the movie carries the spirit of the novel. This is truly the journey of Mattie Ross. The final moments of the movie captures the loss of an era poignantly. Instead of romanticizing, the Coen brothers focuses on the flawed characters in tune with the times. At the end of the movie, the viewer finds true grit in all the three main characters. All three are different from each other but display exceptional courage and determination.
Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie is the pillar of the movie. Hailee’s Mattie believes in justice mostly from her understanding of the Bible. She is a teenager who has bigger responsibilities than her contemporaries. While she is strict and smart in dealing with people around her, she also displays the innocence of her age. Jeff Bridges as Cogburn speaks unintelligibly. But that is how Cogburn should be. But it is during moments when Cogburn deals with his past that Jeff Bridges surprises us. His drunken antics are funny and also shows the stubborn yet foolish nature of the character. Matt Damon as LeBoeuf impresses by the way he transforms into a Texas Ranger. Check out how he speaks after he is injured.
The focus is not on action but on drama. That is what the novel is about. A good adaptation and a recommended watch.