good and evil


"You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God." - Mattie Ross, "True Grit"

I caught "True Grit" today, and I'm mystified why it didn't win any of the ten Oscars it was nominated for. But I suppose that only matters if you care about those things.

My first Coen brothers movie was "Fargo" and ever since, it's been a gentle, incidental, process of falling in love with their work, including their adaption of a book by one of my all-time favourite writers, "No Country for Old Men" by Cormac McCarthy.

"True Grit" has humour, richly-conceived characters, a charismatic cast, and of course, that Coen touch of irony. A Western in their hands is done with a knowing quality while embracing the charms of the genre. Hailee Steinfeld, playing Mattie Ross, made me think of "American Gothic" by Grant Wood.

I like the steely determination, toughness and resilience that carried out throughout the movie - it has the mood of the classic westerns I loved so much as a child and in some ways. In particular, the idea of an American Frontier Woman has always appealed to me, and I've resented how it's been politicised and exploited by the likes of Sarah Palin and her "Mama Grizzly" crap. This film for me restores some of the romance. In fact, I like it so much, I'm going to watch "Fargo" again before I go to bed.

Also, not forgetting this is a blog mostly about style, here's an NYT interview with the movie's costume designer Mary Zophres about that very memorable hat Hailee Steinfeld rocked throughout the movie - read it here.

Happy weekend!

Picture from theiapolis cinema


S said…
I have yet to see True Grit, but I also love westerns and anything in American frontier settings, so this is right up my alley (though I'll have to wait for the DVD ... too difficult to get to the movies). On a side note, I find it difficult to read McCarthy ... his style takes some getting used to, and the violent and disturbing content of his books are difficult for me. But more and more people keep recommending his books (Blood Meridien is a coworker's favorite book), so perhaps I should give him another shot. Any recs for which to start with?
The Bohemienne said…
It is a beautifully crafted film, and I was sad it didn't win anything. I love how the Coen brothers make movies about so many different kinds of stories, yet their unique, personal stamp is still felt on each one. One of my other favorites is Burn After Reading!

I have only read McCarthy's "The Road" (shame on me), but it an amazing book.
Anonymous said…
Random surfing let me to your site, and I must say, I LOVE IT! Will definitely be stalking your blog more often for ideas on 'how to dress'.


lin said…
S: My first book was actually All The Pretty Horses, but I think The Road is a good one to start with; I have a weakness for apocalyptic settings, haha. The storyline and characters are less remote and the violence is subtle and incidental. I agree with The Bohemienne that it's amazing. No Country for Old Men and Blood Meridien are excellent too. The whole Border trilogy was a bit heavy going for me, but maybe I shouldn't have tried to read them consecutively, haha.

The Bohemienne: I adore that book! I've read it at least once a year since it came out. No shame in it being the only Cormac McCarthy book you've read.

Burn After Reading was really enjoyable. I haven't seen too many of their other films, but I like Miller's Crossing, and The Big Lebowski.

dontkaysiao: Thanks!

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