Benjamin Pred says:
I agree with the author that Rosenbaum’s review misses the mark, but for somewhat different
reasons (see here: http://www.forumonlawcultureandsociety.org/blog/2011/02/09/true-grit-review/#comments at comment #2).
The enduring lesson of True Grit is that vengeance comes at a price. Maddie, the film’s heroine,
loses an arm, grows up into a spiteful adult, and indirectly causes several deaths in her quest
for revenge. In the end, the thoughtful filmgoer cannot help but ask whether Maddie’s
world would have been a better one had she simply waited for the law – or karma – to catch up
to her father’s murderer.
Interestingly, the author of this post mentions Jesus’ exhortation to his followers to “turn the
other cheek.” In that simple statement is the recognition of a common spark that unites all
sentient beings – even one who has acted as loathsomely as Tom Chaney, the film’s antagonist.
Rather than seeking an eye for an eye, Maddie could have sought understanding and mercy.
Perhaps Chaney could have been convinced of the error of his ways without violence. And even
if not, eventually this killer would have realized the truth of the maxim that those who live by
the sword shall perish by the sword.
The connection between victim and oppressor, between the wronged and the evildoer, never
dies. But seeing and understanding that connection broadens the human experience and
creates far more opportunities for harmony than mere vengeance. Death is easy. Understanding