True Grit

Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
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  1. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Feb 7, 2011
    100
    Terrific: tough, exciting, funny, gorgeous and bewitchingly acted, this is darn close to perfection.
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 21, 2010
    100
    In some ways, much like Charles Laughton's "Night of the Hunter," which the Coens quote both musically and visually, True Grit is a parable about good and evil. Only here, the lines between the two are so blurred as to be indistinguishable, making this a true picture of how the West was won, or - depending on your view - lost.
  3. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Dec 22, 2010
    91
    The Coens direct True Grit with a light touch, but like Portis' stark, funny novel, their adventure tale shaves off none of the rough edges.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 21, 2010
    91
    On its own conventional terms, the film succeeds – maybe not as a "Coen Brothers" movie, but as a tall tale well told.
  5. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 23, 2010
    90
    The first hour and half or so of True Grit is as good as anything the Coens have ever done-a sweeping Western that, like John Ford's best films, exposes the cracks in American myths of frontier justice and self-reliance.
  6. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 21, 2010
    90
    When Iris DeMent's impeccable version of the hymn is heard on the soundtrack as the final credits roll, it's the perfect touch to end a film whose aim is always true.
  7. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Dec 13, 2010
    90
    For the Coens, the plot elements are a given; the telling is all. [20 & 27 Dec. 2010, p. 144]
  8. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Dec 6, 2010
    90
    Smartly emphasizing Portis' quirky dialogue and dark comic tone, the Coens show the flare that made them famous.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 22, 2010
    88
    The original "True Grit" might have been eclipsed by John Wayne's larger-than-life persona, but the Coen brothers' remake is an ensemble piece that feels freshly their own.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 21, 2010
    88
    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.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 21, 2010
    88
    True Grit is just a couple bloody gunfights removed from an old-fashioned Disney yarn. Yet it's still unmistakably a Coen brothers movie, from the stray weirdness of a bearskin-clad dentist to the bulls-eye delights of the dialogue.
  12. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 21, 2010
    88
    True Grit is probably the least ironic picture in the Coen Brothers' worthy canon, but that doesn't mean it's devoid of their signature oddities, that it doesn't take a few dark, strange turns.
  13. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Dec 21, 2010
    88
    Those of us who admire Charles Portis' novel have waited 40 years for a screen version that's as literal as possible – and the Coen brothers just about deliver it.
  14. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 21, 2010
    88
    This is a film by the Coen Brothers, and this is the first straight genre exercise in their career. It's a loving one. Their craftsmanship is a wonder. Their casting is always inspired and exact. The cinematography by Roger Deakins reminds us of the glory that was, and can still be, the Western.
  15. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 19, 2010
    88
    The Coens have fashioned one of the best Westerns in recent years - a modern reworking of a classic that never feels superfluous.
  16. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 22, 2010
    85
    Mattie is a no-nonsense mite with a forthright manner and a mean head for figures; she wears her hair in two sturdy braids whose tips have never seen the inside of any inkwell, believe you me.
  17. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 22, 2010
    83
    True Grit is a very good movie that might be more embraceable if we didn't know who was pulling the trigger.
  18. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Dec 22, 2010
    83
    A fine, straightforward and engaging film that restores the salt, fire and humor that Hathaway and company drained from their source, Charles Portis' wonderful 1968 novel.
  19. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 15, 2010
    83
    Truer than the John Wayne showpiece and less gritty than the book, this True Grit is just tasty enough to leave movie lovers hungry for a missing spice.
  20. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 25, 2010
    80
    The tense verbal comedy of Mattie's early negotiation with a Fort Smith merchant should win you over to this movie's high linguistic wit. If not, you may as well slip out of the theater and into "Little Fockers."
  21. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Dec 23, 2010
    80
    For the most part, the Coens' is a highly enjoyable yarn, stocked with pungent bushwa and a full panoply of frontier bozos.
  22. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 23, 2010
    80
    A winning western with just a few dark eddies beneath the surface, one that features a star-making lead performance and some spectacular photography, but falls just short of being great.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 22, 2010
    80
    A wonderfully entertaining, beautiful Western drama that lets the quirks of the genre gallop freely as it keeps a tight rein throughout.
  24. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Dec 22, 2010
    80
    This remake by Joel and Ethan Coen is being positioned as a truer True Grit, and though they take their own liberties with the plot and tone, they preserve Portis's impeccably authentic dialogue, which does more to conjure up the Arkansas of the 1870s than any period trappings.
  25. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 21, 2010
    80
    A gorgeously shot, well-acted Western that resonates more the more you let it settle.
  26. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Dec 14, 2010
    80
    To make a Western now is in itself a subversive act. Improving, embellishing and reclaiming an old-fashioned oater from the vintage studio-cheese bin with such humor and vigor seems truly, truly ballsy.
  27. 80
    True Grit isn't as momentous an event as you might hope, but once you adjust to its deliberate rhythms (it starts slowly), it's a charming, deadpan Western comedy.
  28. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 6, 2010
    80
    Well-made and acted Coen Brothers remake lacks the humor and resonance that might have made it memorable.
  29. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Dec 6, 2010
    80
    Rather than a case of the Dude doing the Duke, Bridges' irascible old cuss is a genuine original who feels larger than the familiar saga that contains him.
  30. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Dec 23, 2010
    75
    As usual, the Coens' visual elements are pristine. The contrasting colours in the fire-lit interiors are gorgeous, while cinematographer Roger Deakins keeps the camera close, resisting traditional panoramic views.
  31. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 22, 2010
    75
    If there's one big difference between this version and the old, it's in the attitude toward violence. The new version may be more graphic, but it doesn't present violence as inevitable or necessary, just ugly.
  32. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 22, 2010
    75
    True Grit has sweep and scope and entertainment value to burn, but it's Mattie who invests even the grandest aesthetic elements with meaning.
  33. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 22, 2010
    75
    This is a dirty, stinky Western -- the kind where authenticity is the guiding artistic hand and where a layer of filth and grime have seemingly settled over everything but the popcorn in your lap.
  34. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 21, 2010
    75
    It isn't much of a contest: The clear winner is John Wayne, because the Coens are playing his game. The Duke couldn't do the Coens' sly in-jokes, but they've never been able to reach out and move the audience to heights of emotion. Before now, they've never tried.
  35. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 21, 2010
    75
    The best way to approach Joel and Ethan Coen's eagerly awaited True Grit is to lower your expectations, then lower them a bit more. The problem is not the movie, which is a terrific, no-nonsense, straightforward western. The surprise – or vague disappointment – is the prevailing lack of Coen-ness in the movie.
  36. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 21, 2010
    75
    The biggest change from the '69 "True Grit" is the best thing about this formidably well-crafted picture. Portis's narrator and heroine, 14-year-old Mattie Ross, runs the show this time, not the one-eyed marshal.
  37. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Dec 21, 2010
    75
    Matt Damon is an interesting, chatty choice to play Laboeuf.
  38. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Dec 24, 2010
    67
    All this is not to say that the Coens' True Grit is an awful film; it's just that these filmmakers have set their own standards for excellence, and True Grit falls short.
  39. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Dec 21, 2010
    63
    This isn't a rousing movie as much as a reassurance. The brothers (Coens) prove they can play it straight, but they're preferred, for better and worse, at a sharp angle.
  40. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 23, 2010
    50
    Remaking a cherished movie is not, to borrow a fancy phrase from the dialogue, malum in se - wrong in itself - but there are always losses along with the changes and gains.
  41. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Dec 20, 2010
    25
    The original western won John Wayne a puzzling and undeserved Oscar for finally falling off his horse. Don't expect the same miracle for Jeff Bridges. In the numbing hands of pretentious filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, history does not repeat itself in any way whatsoever.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 605 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 177
  1. Jan 1, 2011
    10
    My wife and I are getting up there in years, and it's great that there are still movies that fit our demographic. As for being a "remake" IMy wife and I are getting up there in years, and it's great that there are still movies that fit our demographic. As for being a "remake" I feel the movie lived up to the hype and then some! All the performances ran circles around the originals, no question. Leaving in the original "fill your hands" line intact was a nice (respectful) touch that seems to have flown over more than a few heads. As for rambling, seemingly inconsequential dialogue from Bridges, get over it! That's how aging people talk. The younger you are, the more bored you are by "old people" telling war stories. We ramble....because we have experiences. We are laconic and cynical.....because we earned that right. Full Review »
  2. Mar 5, 2011
    10
    The first decent movie I have seen in years.

    Matt Damon does his best acting since 'the talented mr ripley' as comedic relief. I liked all
    The first decent movie I have seen in years.

    Matt Damon does his best acting since 'the talented mr ripley' as comedic relief.

    I liked all of the characters, even the villians. The film is beautifully shot, perfectly paced, and the final shootout is intense.

    I've seen the original film and this one must be a 1,000 times better.

    I almost can't believe there's anyone who didn't like this movie, and then I realize this is America, and it all makes sense.

    The film is perfect until the fake looking cg rattlesnakes, other than that.....
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 22, 2010
    3
    Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon were really great in this movie. However everything else was bad and boring. Characters would talk about thingsJeff Bridges and Matt Damon were really great in this movie. However everything else was bad and boring. Characters would talk about things that had nothing to do with the plot or development of the story. When I went into this movie i thought i was there to see an action movie. What i saw was a bunch of cowboys talking about their crappy jobs and money. Even though the acting was good the characters that these great actors were made into were over all bad. The girl was whining the entire movie. And both Matt Damon's and Jeff Bridges characters were both boring and underdeveloped. Full Review »