Having read the book, I watched the film — the most recent version of True Grit, done by the Coen brothers. I’d seen it before, but my memory was a bit skewed. In my mind the film was focused on the male cowboys, played by Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. I said as much in my review of the book.
I may have been confusing the recent film with the original John Wayne movie, or my recollection may have simply been skewed by my own male-centric perspective. In any event, I’m happy to report that the 2010 version of True Grit is just about as true to the book as possible.
The perspective follows Mattie, in the same way that Charles Portis does in the novel. The novel is written in the first person, and the film doesn’t quite capture Mattie’s unique voice and perspective with the same genius of Charles Portis, but the film is all Mattie, from beginning to end.
The 2010 film follows the plot of the book fairly closely, and I also recognized many lines in the film as having come directly from the classic Charles Portis novel. These are phrases and expressions that give both the book and the film a profound sense of place and authenticity.
And so it is that I repent of my earlier, flipant assessment. For a gen-u-ine frontier American experience, True Grit’s the film for you.