They got me True Grit on DVD for my birthday, and I watched it a couple more times. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite films. It’s very hard in fiction or film to portray a good character. This is because truly good and saintly people are so rare and the good people we meet are so often deeply flawed. Furthermore, we usually equate goodness with perfection, piety and ‘purity’ and being all prim and proper. But what we mean by ‘piety and purity’ is more often associated with a false kind of piety and purity which has little to do with real goodness.
In True Grit you see a man who is not perfect, but he is real. He’s a killer and a drunkard and a serial husband, but he believes in justice, truth and he’s humble. When he saves Mattie from the rattlesnake bite–carrying her the final steps to safety–it all comes clear. This time through I noticed again the old gospel tune ‘Everlasting Arms’ running through the film score. Then at the end the gospel son is sung, “Oh what peace of mind, oh, what joy is mine. Leaning on the everlasting arms.” Nice touch.