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Movie Review

True Grit

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some intense sequences of western violence including disturbing images.

Reviewed by: Scott Brennan

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Western Adventure Drama Remake
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 22, 2010 (wide—3,000+ theaters)
DVD: June 7, 2011
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

About murder in the Bible

avenger of blood

death in the Bible

final judgment


justice in the Bible

justice of god


just one



Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer

Drunken U.S. Marshal

drunkenness in the Bible

Featuring: Matt Damon (La Boeuf), Jeff Bridges (Marshal Reuben J. Cogburn), Josh Brolin (Tom Chaney), Domhnall Gleeson (Moon), Hailee Steinfeld (Mattie Ross), more »
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Producer: Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, Scott Rudin Productions, Mike Zoss Productions, more »
Distributor: Paramount Pictures


It is one of the year’s best films, hands down. Leave it the Coen brothers to keep both the “true” and the “grit” in their rendition of this superb remake. Just because the art of filmmaking has evolved dramatically over the past 41 years since the original “True Grit” doesn’t mean the new version will outdo the old. More often than not, it usually doesn’t. However, in the opinion of this reviewer, the new “True Grit” is better than the first—and on so many levels. Starting with the Scripture that went up on screen in the first minute:

The wicked run away when there is no one chasing them… (Prov. 28:1).

The story is simple, but profound. Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) heads out in the beginning to set right her father’s affairs. He was shot dead in a nearby town by his own employee, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), who himself has fled into Indian Territory and is hanging out with a bunch of outlaws like Ned Pepper (Barry Pepper). Mattie inquires about bounty hunters and ends up hiring the meanest Marshall around, one with a lot of “grit” named Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), to find Chaney and bring him to justice—in a biblical sort of way. She drives a hard bargain, as a young bookkeeper, but finds competition when joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), who is also trailing Chaney for the death of a Texas State Senator—for his own bounty reward. This improbable trio sets out on an adventure that none of them will soon forget.

Joel and Ethan Coen took license with the story, as needed. Although they wandered off a bit from the favored original screenplay by Marguerite Roberts, they did stick closer to the storyline from the book. The parts of the dialogue that were almost verbatim in both versions were basically straight from the novel (by Charles Portis) and essential for the telling of this captivating story. At the onset, the Coen brothers told Jeff Bridges that he didn’t have to worry about filling the big shoes of “the Duke” (John Wayne’s nickname). No one could be expected to do that anyway, especially considering Wayne finally nabbed his only Academy Award® for this iconic role of Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 version of this film. That gave a lot of space to Bridges to make “Rooster” his own.

Jeff depicts Cogburn as the cantankerous, fearless U.S. Marshall with his own inimitable style, a bit darker and more human than Wayne’s portrayal, and for the second year in a row, he’s almost certain to be a contender for the Best Actor Oscar®. (He won it last year for “Crazy Heart.”) Supporting him was the also tight performance of Matt Damon, whose movies have now banked more than 2 billion dollars in Hollywood. After coming off of “Invictus,” with his stellar performance last year, he has taken another character, made famous in the original by Glen Campbell, LaBoeuf (pronounced “LaBeef” in the film) and made it his own.

Josh Brolin supports the cast well with a smaller role as the notorious antagonist, Tom Chaney, along with Barry Pepper who plays the wild “Lucky” Ned Pepper. But the real show stopper has to be newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who played the lead character of Mattie Ross, rightly focused on by the Coen’s as “central” in this second version of the film. She has the toughness and determination of Mattie, as portrayed by Kim Darby in the original film, but without Kim’s nearly flat affect. Hailee’s well-rounded interpretation shows great depth of emotion, well-tagged to her proper Christian upbringing and sense of duty, as told in the story, especially considering her young age (13). Again, another Oscar® nomination is possible here. Finally, the glue that holds them all together is really the adherence to the “voice of the era,” as written in the novel by Portis, dialogue which was skillfully integrated by the Coen brother’s into their screenplay adaptation. Like “No Country for Old Men” the Coen’s went for big sweeping epic western, with a little darker edge to it (“Fargo” realism), which was to be expected, while remaining true to the author’s (Charles Portis) original intent.

The location shots in New Mexico and Texas combine with the stunning cinematography by the DP, Roger Deakins, make for an exquisite backdrop, one that I thought the Coen’s wouldn’t be able to duplicate when comparing it to the original pristine shots of Bishop, California a la 1969 in the first movie. They and Deakins took it over the top, in a good way.

Content for concern

There are several instances of cursing or taking the Lord’s name in vain or vulgarities or profanities which include: [g*d d*mm*t (2), dag nammit (1), son of a b*tch (1)] and the like, but truthfully, they are few by comparison to common films in this genre.

The PG-13 rating was earned more for the violent sketches which are part of both films, but are much more graphic in this one. There is a quick shot of a couple of removed fingers laying on a table and a close range shot of Rooster killing his prisoner, where blood sprays across his face. It is essentially the same scene as in the first “True Grit,” but a lot grittier—Coen-brother-style. The squeamish should turn their heads or hide their eyes. There is also a scene where LaBoeuf is spanking Mattie, and another where Rooster kicks some Indian kids off a porch (twice) in an offhanded and rude way with racist undertones, although it fit with his character as portrayed. Also, Rooster is sipping from a whisky bottle throughout the film.

This is not a film for children, by any means. Also, the final shots and dénouement are a bit dark and do not support the more Christian character of Mattie as presented or developed in the rest of the film. Mature teens or adults who would not be offended by what I just mentioned above, are the only ones I could recommend seeing the film.

Summary and spiritual significance

The storyline cannot be separated from either its period in U.S. History or its reliance upon Christian virtue as the order of the day in that society. The soundtrack playing an instrumental version of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” at varying tempos throughout the film is a subtle reminder that not only is Mattie relying on God’s providence to help her bring about justice and avenge her father’s death legally, but that we all are, whether we realize it or not, leaning on those same everlasting arms. There is a powerful scene in the climax where this comes into full view under a starlit sky—a scene that won’t leave my memory anytime soon.

At one point in the film the narrator says:

“You pay for everything in this world. There is nothing free, except the grace of God.”

This is a central theme to the film as characterized by Mattie’s measuring out the cost of every transaction in life with such meticulous detail. But there is no hiding the grace of God. Even a criminal about to be hanged repents aloud to the crowd and asks for mercy and grace to be extended to his family after his death. The prevalence of the redemptive theme and justice pursued under the laws of the land by both “saint and sinner” in this story are enough for me to give this film an above average moral rating—especially since many westerns leave God out of the picture entirely.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. —Romans 12:19

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Tried and true story, great screenplay and absolutely fantastic acting from everyone involved—what’s not to like? Bridges, Damon and Brolin all did excellent jobs, but Steinfeld stole the show. She just nailed the part of Mattie. The longing for justice is a widespread human trait that savvy Christians know points to the existence and work of God himself. Thus, Christians should long for justice, albeit the imperfect justice that we should all strive for now, and the perfect justice that will exist when Messiah brings the Kingdom to come. So I agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer that understood Mattie’s motivation as justice, rather than mere revenge. It is precisely this aspect of the film—alongside the constant use of Christian scriptures, hymns and imagery—that makes this an excellent story for our time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Mike, age 44 (USA)
Positive—Had I seen the original, I might have more to ramble. Alas, I don’t. Nothing really struck a nerve, bad or great. This was just a solid western with fine performances all across the board, crisp dialogue, and a gritty depiction of America’s wildest frontier akin to the way Leone saw it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mega Tron, age 24 (USA)
Positive—This is a great movie! Not as awesome as John Wayne, but duh, he’s not in it, but Jeff Bridges’ character is funny and enjoyable… and the hymns and bible verses… yeah its period correct, they don’t have anything to do with anything, as far as the story goes. And it ends the way the original ends, as far as I remember.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tim, age 27 (USA)
Positive—True Blindness—I don’t know if my interpretation of this story is way off, because no review I’ve read so far seems to have seen this, but I think the Coen Brothers’ version of “True Grit” is a film about a demanding, confident fourteen year-old Presbyterian girl who has badly misunderstood what her Christian faith is all about. From the very moment she declares “I will avenge papa’s death,” she is ignoring the biblical principle “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). She decides to take into her own hands the task of seeing that man caught and hanged and insists on having it her way. Throughout the film this quest leads to violence and many deaths, including the death of the wanted murderer Tom Chaney at the very hands of Mattie Ross who shoots him in self-defense.
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My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Ketsia Lessard, age 27 (Canada)
Positive—Regarding Rooster repeatedly kicking the Indian kids off the porch, while some might see racist undertones, he did it because the two little punks were torturing a tethered mule. Their race had nothing to do with it. The soundtrack also weaves two other hymns in: “Glory-land Way” and “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand”. To Ketsia’s comment above: “…she whispers, half-conscious: ‘Chaney got away’. Even after killing him herself, her thirst for revenge still isn’t quenched.” You’re reading FAR too much into that line.
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My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—James, age 45 (USA)
Positive—I think some reviews need to get a dictionary to find out the meanings of “avenge” and “revenge”. Marty Ross says she wants to avenge her fathers death, meaning she wants to see justice done for what happened. Over and over throughout the film she states that she wants to see Chaney hanged for killing her father and even when she catches him she offers her lawyer. I’m pretty sure the girl understands grace far better than some of the commenters on this site. She wants justice, not revenge. She wants to see Chaney pay for the crime of killing her father. It is fair, and she is in the right. If no one was willing to bring justice upon the wicked, they flee. Letting an injustice go unpunished is the sin, in this case. Some people should pay more attention than just brush off the film as a revenge film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—April, age 24 (USA)
Positive—I took my family to view “True Grit” this evening and found it a most excellent film that actually does not portray Christianity or Christians in a negative light. Other than a few moral objections as noted in the site’s review, this is a good Western done in the traditional sense that has both a good feel to it, a fine story, which portrays Christian beliefs in a positive light. The playing of hymns as background music was surprising and fitting, and the quoting of scriptures in the movie was appropriate and refreshing.

The film is best for teens and adults. Instead of settling for the typical Hollywood genre of films, this is a movie that a Christian can attend and enjoy.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mastriano, age 47 (Canada)
Positive—I loved this movie. The dialogue between the characters is outstanding and very funny. Beautiful movie visually, as well. It was great to watch from beginning to end. Typical Coen brothers movie. They do take God’s name in vain several times. There is a lot of killing. But, somehow, none of that takes away from the movie. The background music was “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms;” it was nice to hear the old hymn.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joe, age 62 (USA)
Positive—As far as movies go, this was a pretty good one. The girl in the film is trying to get revenge on the crook that killed her father. So she finds a man who is a drunk to track him down. Matt Damon plays a Texas Ranger who is also on the trail of the crook, and it kind of turns into a competition to see who is the better law man. I would have to say my favorite scene of the movie is when Damon’s character gives her an over the knee spanking to get her to show the adults respect. Don’t see that kind of stuff much these days. Although there is some swearing, I felt that this movie did a good job of keeping other kinds of garbage out, that they could’ve added. Would definitely recommend seeing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Chris Finstad, age 26 (USA)
Positive—I came into this not having seen the original with John Wayne, and I am very impressed. Jeff Bridges’ performance has Oscar® written all over it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Damon landed a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as Texas Ranger LaBeouf. The Coen Brothers never cease to amaze me with the quality of their films. While not the best film of 2010, it’s still a good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Shannon H., age 29 (USA)
Positive—I cannot remember the last time I saw a film that was so well written and well acted—at least one that I wasn’t morally offended by! I am not a fan of westerns, but this film was so unlike any other western I have seen. True Grit is truly witty, clean of brothels and any awkward hollywood sex drama, and unashamed to show faith in God in a favorable light. Language and violence are not excessive, but make this movie inappropriate for children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Bethany, age 27 (USA)
Positive—I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The acting was superb, as was the scenery and soundtrack. I could have done without the scene where a man gets the ends of his fingers chopped off, but that’s the only thing I would change.

Note: My Dad, a John Wayne fan, said the older version was ten times better. I haven’t seen the old one, but I’m usually not a fan of John Wayne movies. So whether or not you enjoy the modern one probably depends on how much you liked the older one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kadie Joseph, age 18 (USA)
Positive—I have three younger sisters who want to view this movie-all of them love a good western/adventure story. Unfortunately, most female characters in Western/Adventure films seem to either end up being feminine but immoral, or the feminist types. Mattie of “True Grit” is somewhere in-between; portraying innocence and compassion, with wit and wisdom. I enjoyed “True Grit” because Mattie’s character is steady throughout the film. Although a shrewd business dealer, she remains honest. The guys respect her for her character, eventually becoming her protectors. I also liked the way she handled a gun (see movie!) I want my sisters to see it…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah McConnell, age 23 (USA)
Positive—After seeing the new version of “True Grit” and comparing it to the original version (the day after), I felt that they both were good movies, but for Christian values, the original was superior.

Neither seemed true to the geographical location of the original (Arkansas), but aesthetically the original was far more attractive, often shot in daytime versus nighttime with breathtaking mountain views. Mattie’s character was also better developed—we were actually able to see the close relationship that she and her father had, how the murder occurred, and why she wanted the murderer brought to justice.

The original had many more Christian references but both films showed righteous indignation of a girl seeking justice because of her loyalty and love for her father and persevering to attain what she perceived was a righteous goal. The ending of the original was also superior (but I am not sure how the original novel ends). Mattie survives to invite Cogburn to be buried next to her family, presumably in a proper Christian burial, because he does not have a family anymore.

Certain Christian omissions also were disturbing. The lack of prayer in a Christian girl’s life as she desperately pursued Cheney and after she had been bitten by a snake seemed unthinkable for a true Christian. Also, the carnival-like atmosphere at the hanging seemed unbefitting to what should have been a solemn affair (but again this may have been the norm in the “Wild West”).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sally Johnson, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I went to see “True Grit” with some friends, while on vacation. My dad had seen this movie previously and loved it, so I said, “Eh why not, let’s see how good this film is?” As it turns out, it was pretty good. I am a fan of the Coen’s brothers. Though I have only seen two of their movies (“O Brother Where Art Thou?” being one of them), I am still a huge fan. However, previous to viewing this movie I had no idea that the brothers were the writers of “True Grit.”

I was impressed with their remake of “True Grit.” The violence in this film was heavy, so parents be warned this is NOT a film for younger children, even with a better than average rating. However, there was no sex, and very mild profanity.

The lesson we need to take from this movie is that vengeance is best left in the hands of Almighty God. It was comforting that the movie positively promoted this theme.

I loved how they incorporated scripture and a hymn to promote this theme. Overall, a very good movie, but due to the heavy violence, I wouldn’t recommend to children under the age of 13.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Alexander Malsan, age 20 (USA)
Positive—This is, beyond a doubt, the best movie released in 2010. Dare I say, and I agree with the reviewer, it is better than the original. I’ve seen it twice in the theatre. I disagree with the reviewer that the elder Mattie is not as faith-based as the younger, as when the elder is narrating the story, she says that nothing on Earth is free except for the Mercy of God. It’s the story of a brave child, a drunkard marshal and an exhausted ranger finding their redemption in bringing a merciless killer to justice.

The morals are so wonderful, I purchased the book it’s based on to read to my child when he gets older.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ryan, age 31 (USA)
Positive—This is a fine film. It is well worth seeing. It is useful to compare the 1969 original with this film to see the changes in the culture over those 40 odd years. The 1969 film is sunny and optimistic with confidence in the future. This film is far darker. The Zeitgeist changed. It is still a fine movie with outstanding performances. The female lead is outstanding. I liked the rich, precise and educated dialogue, but is it realistic for the times in which it is set? I do not know.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Blue, age 52 (Australia)
Positive—From a Christian perspective, a salient aspect to understanding “True Grit” is the 14-year old Mattie Ross through whom the story is told, both from her field of view and point of view. As in many of the Coen Brother’s movies, the other characters are present only to advance the plot. Mattie is a true force of nature, possessing a truly uncommon intellect, iron will and a rigid moral compass.

Is she a Christian? We must not forget that this is only a story, and the author chose to be either purposely ambiguous or was not in fact concerned with her spiritual state. She was obviously raised in a Christian environment and knew and accepted without question the doctrines of the faith and apparently strove to live by them—but was she regenerate—it is virtually impossible to judge this in children, let alone a fictional one. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Dave Leonard, age 53 (USA)
Neutral—The original John Wayne film is a great classic, this new film, while enjoyable to watch, missed many of the finer points in the original film. There were too many changes from the original, especially the end, that would disappoint those who found the original a great classic.

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld, especially, were excellent. Hailee captured Mattie Ross to a tee, well done. I know it’s difficult to pull off a remake, they did well, but as I said they missed many of the finer points, for example, in the original when Mattie decided on her “Blacky,” she quoted a poem and said, “One white foot, buy him. Two white feet, try him. Three white feet, be on the sly. Four white feet, pass him by.” Blacky in the new film did not have white feet. There are more, and I know I may be picky, but I do so much love the original.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Bruce Beresford, age 65 (Australia)
Neutral—The offensive rating is for the small amount of vulgarity, several scenes of drunken behavior, and the realistic Western violence that is portrayed in the movie “True Grit.” I am a fan of the original “True Grit” starring John Wayne. It is the only film in which the legendary John Wayne won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Acting.

I will tell you, had this movie not been a remake, it would would have been good. This new one follows the storyline of the book more closely than the original. It has great acting, realistic depiction of Western life, and the production is great. The new one, while a great film, lacked the heart of the first one and does not delve deep into the character of Rooster Cogburn.

It does not have sequences of roving plains and hills that were staples of the old school Westerns of Henry Hathaway and John Ford. I will recommend this film for lovers of Westerns, but if you do see it, try to pretend you’ve never seen the epic “True Grit” that starred John Wayne.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jacob Airey, age 22 (USA)
Negative—Reluctantly, I cannot recommend this movie. While it actually opened with a verse from Proverbs on the screen, and included hymns as a backdrop throughout the movie, it just didn’t capture my interest much. I saw, and enjoyed, the original with John Wayne many years ago, but this version didn’t match up.

The acting was good, except that everyone talked in a sort of formal, mechanical cadence that seemed very odd. Maybe that’s how they talked back then, but I don’t think so. There was one rather graphic scene of violence that will make you jump, but I guess that’s to be expected in a western.

Moral issues included the revenge theme, rampant killing, and foul language (including GD), once again, to be expected in a western. I appreciated the fact that an attempt was made to intertwine a Bible verse and hymns, but I didn’t see a compelling connection to the story line.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jim, age 54 (USA)
Negative—Other then the very chatty lead actor, I did not like the background music, which is a hymn, “leaning on the everlasting arms.” That song didn’t fit the movie at all.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Byron, age 53 (USA)
Negative—I enjoy westerns, and I became interested in viewing the film after reading a portion of Christian Spotlight’s review. The acting and directing was great, but as the story begins to enrapture its audience it then ends inconclusive, sort of leaving a sense of existential emptiness. It is devoid of any certain moral reckoning, which one would think to follow such spiritually significant content. Instead, the conclusion is anticlimactic and vague in its interpretation of the tragic events. It is with disappointment that I withhold my recommendation for this movie and offer it a meager three stars.

***SPOILERS***: As per the overall content, there is a considerable amount of dramatic violence such as a close up shot of a man’s fingers getting chopped off. There was a noticeable amount of people in the audience that cringed at the sight.

While it is refreshingly clean in comparison to the common sexual exploitations that frequent the big screen, the violence however, makes it unsuitable for younger children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—J. Paul, age 40 (USA)
Negative—I will never accept a movie that depicts an “adult” relationship between a child and older men. I found the suggestions in this movie filthy and Godless. I am thankful that the director didn’t show anything explicit between the characters, as their chemistry and gestures were more than enough to confront viewers with this repulsive “life-style.” Rather than view this dirty film, I suggest you read the Bible and pray to Jesus that this film is quickly and quietly forgotten.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Christine C, age 41 (USA)
Negative—Just wanted to thank Christine (41) for her courage in making the comment above in the negative section. I haven’t seen the film, and I appreciate and understand very much what she is trying to say. I think I’ll spare myself having to forget this film and never see it. Thanks again, Christine.
—Dana, age 56 (USA)
Neutral—I was concerned about a negative comment from Christine C (41) prior to watching this movie, implying an inappropriate relationship between Mattie and one of the older men in the movie. However, after watching the movie I found nothing whatsoever implying any sort of physical affection or inappropriate relations. They grew to appreciate and respect each other as individuals, nothing more.

Regarding the movie as a whole, I thought it was just ok. Mattie was overly sophisticated for a 14 year old, and the dialogue was difficult to follow, particularly early on. I wasn’t alive back then, but it seems contractions hadn’t, well, had not, been invented yet and the language was quite formal. It seems a bit strong for a PG-13 movie, but there isn’t anything sensual or any innuendo, a welcome surprise for today’s times. It’s a simple film with the grit the title implies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Andyr, age 33 (USA)
Negative—I had expected a thrilling Western with integrity and moral, but, instead, I got a movie based on revenge and a Texas Ranger whose countenance is not at all gruff or intimidating. When you first see him on the porch (the ranger), the aura he seems to give off is perfect, but, for the rest of the movie, his character does not suffice. The girl was a superb actress. She portrayed the perfect image of a merchant’s daughter. I especially admired her wit, persistence and saucy tongue.

There are two occasions where there was very graphic scenes that I found disturbing. In a cabin scene, one man has his fingers chopped off, and he’s then stabbed; the other man, who is the one who injured the previous, is shot in the face. Shortly after, the Marshall almost pulls out the Ranger’s tongue, which the Ranger had almost bitten through when he was horse dragged by one of the fugitives. I did not enjoy the movie and would not recommend it to anyone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Bethany Stibbe, age 18 (Canada)
Negative—Lame movie!! The 14 year old girl talked like an attorney-not at all believable. The dialogue was poorly scripted. WASTE of TIME.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ken, age 60 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—John Wayne’s “True Grit” will always be the classic. But this new one is definitely better-made than the original movie. The actors were perfect, the directing was excellent, and the story was moving. The violence (though brief) was grim, but the humor that was in the story really helped to lighten the mood. The spirituality that they put in was a big plus for the movie. “There is nothing free in this world, except the grace of God,” one of the characters mentions.

The theme song, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” plays throughout the film. All around I’d say it was a good movie, but I would not take young children to it. The PG-13 rating is there for a reason.

But for those who are fans of the western genre, and those who remember John Wayne’s original classic, this will be a film that fans will love for a long time. This film will also serve as a reminder that no matter how hard you run from God, He will find you and give you what you deserve. Whether it be His justice or His love, that is up to you. That is why it is so important to get right with God through His son, Jesus Christ.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Peter, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I loved this movie! I have never seen any other Coen Bro. film, but I am an official fan, it’s hard to describe this film actually, I can’t call it an action or adventure or thriller, it kinda fits into a realm of it’s own, I very much enjoyed the sound track, including “leaning on the everlasting arms,” and the Bible verse at the beginning, but remember, just because a film has christian moral, doesn’t make it appropriate for everyone, for example, “The Book of Eli” is a stunning film with christian moral, but it’s over shadowed by grisly violence and an unstoppable stream of “F” bombs, which of course, God would not smile proudly on, but this film is not like that, it seems much more uplifting in a way, the cinematography was stunning, the acting was Oscar worthy, the plot was griping, everything about seemed that it was to the fullest.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Zig C., age 16 (USA)
Positive—On a scale of 1 to 10, “True Grit” is easily an 11! It’s an incredible movie! I really enjoyed it! I haven’t seen the original, but I was impressed with this movie. I think this will be popular when the Oscars come around!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lydia P., age 17 (USA)
Positive—As a fan of the Coen brothers, I can say that this is one of their best films yet. The cinematography is stunning and is greatly complimented by the film’s powerful score. Hailee Steinfeld gives one of the finest breakout performances I’ve ever seen; she even outdoes her celebrity co-stars. Overall, the film is a masterpiece from start to finish. Though it is particularly violent for PG-13 fare, True Grit should be appropriate for older kids and teens.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Zach, age 16 (USA)
Neutral—I never have been a fan of the Coen brothers. They seem to have an annoying tendency of creating wonderful little movies that don’t really mean anything. They ask you questions that they can’t even answer, and leave the frustrating work to you. While True Grit wasn’t as soulless or empty as No Country for Old Men, it has the same fundamental taste (or lack of), just with a slightly better flavor. True Grit was by no means a bad movie, but it wasn’t a great one either, and it was a disappointment because my expectations going into the theater were considerably high, mainly because of all the misplaced hype. The critics raved about Old Men too, and like with that movie, I finished True Grit with the same question: so what? I honestly wanted to like True Grit, because it did have a story (unlike Old Men), and mostly likeable characters, and great cinematography, and terrific acting. But unfortunately, all of those elements by themselves do not make a great movie, and True Grit had several other problems offsetting its good qualities.
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My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Joseph Hughey, age 17 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I was very surprised to not like this movie. I walked out about 2/3 of the way through the movie, and I hardly ever do that. It was pretentious. I agree with the negative comment made by Jim. There is great disparity between the seemingly Christian or spiritual elements and what is taking place in the drama. A child is presented as part of a vengeance trip. Revenge is her focus, not justice.

Maybe the fault lies with the screenplay or maybe even with the original story. I never saw the John Wayne version. The cinematography is definitely spectacular, and performances by Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon are masterful. Bridges is as good in this movie as he was in his award winning role in “Crazy Heart” (which I liked very much). I have seen a few Coen Bros. movies, “Fargo” being one of my favorite movies, despite its hideous violence. But “True Grit,” in the Coen rendition, has spiritual contradictions and mean brutality. I am glad I left.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Halyna Barannik, age 64 (USA)
Negative—…please, someone tell me why ANY “Christian,” that would be a follower of Jesus Christ, would see this movie and then have NO problem with the Blasphemy? Doesn’t the Bible say that God will not hold him blameless who takes HIS name in vain? Why are “christians” so impressed with being worldly? The Bible says we are to be IN the world not of it. I know that one can not stop others from using our Lord’s name as a cuss word all the time but, how could you NOT know that it would happen in this movie? The Coen Bros. Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges have made no secret of their hatred for God, Jesus Christ and Christians, in general. How could you not know this?

And then to call this a “moral” movie? Wow! I’ve spent much time reading some of the comments from various movies that I know have blasphemy in them and my alleged Brothers and Sisters in Christ love these movies. I just don’t understand it.

When I was an atheist, you hypocrites were the type of people that I would point at and say “why should I believe in God when you behave worse than I do?” Please wake UP and stop being so WORLDLY!
—Christian, age 51 (USA)
Negative—“Christian, age 51” says it all. I simply want to show my agreement and thank the reviewers that told me the Lord’s name is used as a cuss word. Myself nor my children will see it. I also would like to say that I am disappointed in any “Christian” that would attempt to persuade another to see such junk (realistic or not). Please don’t promote a movie simply on the basis of a comparison to other movies. It’s faulty logic. Nothing deserves the slightest credit that uses God’s name like that. Take a stand or the movies you won’t watch today will be mild in comparison to those of the future.
—Chris Ransom, age 45 (USA)