True Grit

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.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    Fr Barron with Word on Fire commented on this movie a while back so I saw it. We kept watching it even though it was midnight on a weeknight- very good

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09015745990344837357 Nârwen

    The character of Mattie Ross is what I found most interesting – razor-sharp mind, indomitable will, startlingly blunt honesty – a mix of bright young girl and avenging angel. And how can you not love a movie which includes the distinction between malum prohibitum and malum in se ?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07564546155986482730 Matthew M

    I've both versions on BluRay. Really like them both. Alike in so many ways yet different enough to be interesting. I'll have to go back to the book to see if he wrote Frank James as a jerk like that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05336781734419554046 broken

    I'll have to see this movie. I love "real" people with real problems. I enjoyed Ronda Chervin at the healing retreat. You don't get more real than her. I smiled when she said "finga" instead of "finger". Being an Irish Catholic from Boston it reminded me of home. Yesterday was my B-Day and my husband got me a book i've been longing for. Now I'll have to get a pound of Harney and Sons loose leaf tea to go with that book!"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." — C.S. Lewis Happy belated B-Day Father!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09829257111579899926 Jonathan

    OK, you may wish to file this under "Quibbles", but the actual lyrics of "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" go like this: What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.Etc.On the movie True Grit, the track sung by Iris Dement, is all true to the published text of the song, notwithstanding all the vocal digressions that Iris' authentic (!) Arkansas (town of Paragould, according to Wikipedia) accent have tried to foist upon the words familiar to millions of Americans!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11740482509910163332 Gail F

    Matthew M: Yes, he did. And the line Mattie says – "Stay sitting, trash," (or something like that) is in the book, too. But she calls Cole a "courteous old outlaw" and rather admires him.I think this is a wonderful film about goodness — what it is, who has it, and what it's not. Mattie is righteous but is she good? She has no pity. Rooster saves her from herself. We watched it with our 14-year-old son this week and talked about how everything has to be paid for. In the end, she gets her revenge — but she has to pay for it. Rooster makes sure she doesn't pay everything. It's a great book, too.


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