I’m in a daze. I feel like getting an antique pistol that doesn’t work and keeping it in a flour bag with a bunch of apples. I’m torn between braiding my hair like Mattie Ross or wearing a Rooster-eyepatch and cursing in an outhouse.
It seems unbelievable for a 14-year-old girl who has just lost a parent to be so decisive, so brave and so mature. Instead of falling apart, Mattie Ross chose to grow up, avenge her father’s death and ride off to the sunset to a “great adventure” with a pony named Little Blackie and her father’s pistol. Oh, Rooster and Le Boeuf helped. But it was Mattie who held everyone together until they reached their goal: catching Tom Chaney.
I know it’s based on a book, but she was 14! In Mattie’s day, children – especially girls – had to grow up fast because of they were thrust into the adult world well before their twenties. Women married young and men had to work for a living before they even saw facial hair. Combined with everyday danger, lack of proper medical institutions and digital technology, simply raising a family can be a heroic feat. Mattie didn’t get to see the man who saved her life until he died because traveling and communication was difficult then. These days, it’s so easy to pick up an iPhone and text: “Roostr u rock!1! Lost lft arm… FML! Bt stl alyv. Wil c u at Strbks tmrw, my trit. Brng LeBoeuf.”
While Mattie’s story is a work of fiction, the world where she lived in was not. Today’s teenagers would wallow in angst and misery, cut themselves, channel Marilyn Manson, post “FML” all over Facebook and pop Zoloft in between expensive therapy sessions. A hundred years ago, kids didn’t have a lot of options or support. I’ve never felt more embarrassed for today’s youth than I did after watching True Grit. (And that includes me.)
Some movies make you feel good for a few hours after watching. Some bother you for days. True Grit offered perspective. Every time you want to go apesh1t and throw a tantrum over something so unimportant, remember that there is someone far less fortunate and would just loooove to switch with you – you and your silly problems.
P.S. Hailee Steinfeld & the Coen Brothers, I really hope you guys win. ❤