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True Grit (2010)True Grit (2010)

True Grit is fun to watch because it's a great cowboy movie. It's full of gorgeous scenery, tough talk, parody ("I am seriously injured!" exclaims LaBoeuf [Matt Damon], who pronounces his name "LaBeef"), and pathos ("There's nothing free in life but the grace of God."). Movie buffs will enjoy comparing it to the 1969 John Wayne classic and the novel of the same name by Charles Portis. But what really has the critics in overdrive is the explicitly religious character that the Coen brothers give to the story. As in their previous works, the film opens with a Bible verse. Young Mattie Ross, who hires "Rooster" Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to avenge the death of her father, is a Scripture-quoting girl with pluck. Suffusing the film from start to finish is a sound track of the classic hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." Every character in the story exhibits mixed motives and actions that are both good and evil. Leaning on the grace of God is the best we can do in a morally mysterious world in which Mattie's father helped a man, who then murdered him, and in which Mattie avenges his death through vigilante justice, only to fall into a snake pit.

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