The True Grit Screenplay

Much has been made of the performances, less of the writing, especially the language.

I recommend anyone interested in screenwriting to read the screenplay, easily Googled. I’ve read that the writing sticks close to the 60’s original, although I don’t remember the language of that being distinctive. Presumably Charles Portis, the author of the novel on which the films were based, set a pattern.

Is it unusual for the last year to have produced three such rich screenplays: True Grit, The Social Network and The King’s Speech? Of these, I think the first two are the most interesting on the page.

Of the three you name I’ve only seen Social Network.
While I am a big Aaron Sorkin fan, I thought the film was lifeless.
The characters were flat and the language puerile.
Or maybe it was the other way around. :question:
I am rooting for True Grit in the hope that Westerns have a mini-revival.
And also stories with characters who are beyond acne.

I’ve done the opposite, having seen The King’s Speech and True Grit. Loved the first one (great screenplay and very good acting, most specially Colin Firth) and was very well surprised by True Grit, considering that I’m not a huge fan of westerns. On the last, I loved the language the most, so polite while having such nasty meaning and being said by such dirty people. :slight_smile:

I would consider both movies the best ones I’ve watched in a long time. (Together with the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.)

Btw, both screenplays can be found here.

I too am a Sorkin fan. (I saw a terrific production of A Few Good Men starring Rob Lowe in London in 2005.)

If I were to defend The Social Network screenplay I’d do it not on the basis of the language, quite substantial lumps of which after all were verbatim, but on two other semi-miraculous counts: its capacity to make an apparently unattractive protagonist seem interesting, slightly sympathetic and indeed tragic to at least part of the audience, and its ability to get its depiction of said (living) protagonist into the public domain without all concerned getting their arses sued to the far edge of forever. Perhaps just well legalled, but I’m sure it required more than that.

BTW, I’m not sure that True Grit is a Western in the traditional sense of the term, although it pays its Western dues.

Unfortunately, “Western” is the most shopworn label in the media biz, thanks to the “oater” or “horse opera” attached to cheap movies made in the post WW II era. Some brilliant examples of the genre are the films of John Ford, but all the B and C-grade flicks create the stereotyped cactus-sagebrush desert, a few years after the Civil War, say 1870, in a place called Tombstone or Dead Man’s Gulch. As Wallace Stegner wrote, many Wests exist in that vast region, but few films depict its variety.

Perhaps the more interesting aspect of the genre is that its politics are often right-wing, celebrating the struggle of rugged individuals against wilderness; while the left-wing complement is film noir, where cynical heroes track down crypto-fascists in gritty urban places.

An interesting distinction. There’s quite a bit of battling the wilderness in the Coens’ film. In fact, crucially, the wilderness fights back.

A regret for me is that it doesn’t look like I imagine the wilderness of 1870’s west of Fort Smith looked, although not as far removed as the Hathaway/Wayne film, which I remember appeared to have been shot like so many in the shadow of the Rockies.