The invaluable Frank Rich has a great op-ed on the success of True Grit in the age of The Social Network. It's beautifully written and interesting in the context of both awards season heat and our current political and economic climate. If I have one gripe with it it seems to downplay the fact that TSN is quite successful financially. Just not as successful.
I won't spoil the expert finale of the piece which shifts to The Social Network but here's a part I liked about True Grit which he correctly identifies as both elegaic and escapist for left and right wing Americans.
More than the first “True Grit,” the new one emphasizes Mattie’s precocious, almost obsessive preoccupation with the law. She is forever citing law-book principles, invoking lawyers and affidavits, and threatening to go to court. “You must pay for everything in this world one way or another,” says Mattie. “There is nothing free except the grace of God.”
That kind of legal and moral cost-accounting seems as distant as a tintype now. The new “True Grit” lands in an America that’s still not recovered from a crash where many of the reckless perpetrators of economic mayhem deflected any accountability and merely moved on to the next bubble, gamble or ethically dubious backroom deal. When Americans think of the law these days, they often think of a system that can easily be gamed by the rich and the powerful, starting with those who pillaged Lehman Brothers, A.I.G. and Citigroup and left taxpayers, shareholders and pensioners in the dust. A virtuous soul like Mattie would be crushed in a contemporary gold rush even if (or especially if) she fought back with the kind of civil action so prized by the 19th-century Mattie.
The whole piece is well worth a read.