Stanley Fish has an interesting review of the movie remake True Grit in the New York Times. I find his review compelling. There is a since in which True Grit is a religious movie, not overtly of course, but religious nonetheless.
One of my favorite lines is given by the film’s heroine, Mattie Ross, early on in the film while she talks about tracking down her father’s killer and bringing him to justice, You must pay for everything in this world one way and another. There is nothing free with the exception of God’s grace. Apparently the novel of the same name continues on, You cannot earn that grace, or deserve it.
Mr. Fish comments: While the Coens deprive us of the heroism Gagliasso and others look for, they give us a better heroism in the person of Mattie, who maintains the confidence of her convictions even when the world continues to provide no support for them. In the end, when she is a spinster with one arm who arrives too late to see Rooster once more, she remains as judgmental, single-minded and resolute as ever. She goes forward not because she has faith in a better worldly future — her last words to us are “Time just gets away from us” — but because she has faith in the righteousness of her path, a path that is sure (because it is not hers) despite the absence of external guideposts.