Nominated for 10 Oscars in 2010, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Jeff Bridges) and Best Supporting Actress (Hailee Steinfeld)
Leave it to the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, to do right smart by True Grit, the 1968 Charles Portis novel that a year later became the film that won John Wayne his only Oscar. Audiences remember Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, the fat, one-eyed drunk of a U.S. Marshal. But that’s about all that sticks. By staying true to Portis – the richness of his language runs through the film like a vein of comic gold – the Coens have crafted a vastly entertaining Wild West show that is memorable in every particular.
With due respect to Jeff Bridges, who is killer good at playing the hell out of double-tough Rooster and his rusted nobility, the Coens wisely put their focus where Portis put it: on Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), the 14-year-old dynamo from Arkansas who hires Rooster to bring in Tom Chaney (a sly, wicked Josh Brolin), the varmint who gunned down her daddy.
What makes True Grit a new classic for the Coens is the way the brothers absorb the unfairly unsung Portis into their DNA, like they did with Cormac McCarthy in No Country For Old Men. True Grit is packed with action and laughs, plus a touching coda with an older Mattie, but it’s the dialogue that really sings. Great filmmaking. Great acting. Great movie. Saddle up.
– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone