True Grit

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Not sure you really want to see a western? Maybe you wonder what the quirky Coen brothers would make of the genre? Well, here are four reasons to see True Grit: 1) Hailee Steinfeld’s superb performance as the sharp-tongued Mattie Ross, a 14-year old who tracks down her father’s murderer with the aid of a crusty U.S. Marshall (Jeff Bridges) and a buffoonish Texas Ranger (Matt Damon); 2) gorgeous images of the Southwest combined with sets and characters that look truly rough and tough; 3) a hymn-based score that uses “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” as a backdrop to the film’s plot; and 4) the main characters’ discovery of self-sacrifice, redeeming, to some degree, the often gruesome, sometimes graphic, portrayal of frontier justice and attitudes. Parents should take care with the PG-13 rating. (Paramount)

About the Author

Otto Selles teaches French at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., and attends Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.