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(2010), PG-13 [Hard PG-13*] (1hr 45min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
June 10, 2011
June 10, 2011

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2010), PG-13 [Hard PG-13*] ... With a vengeance

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, Scott Rudin Productions, Mike Zoss Productions
Distribution (US): Paramount Home Entertainment
Director(s): Ethan and Joel Cohen
Producer(s): Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, David Ellison, Megan Ellison, Robert Graf, Scott Rudin, Paul Schwake, Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by: Ethan and Joel Cohen
Novel: Charles Portis
Cinematography/Camera: Roger Deakins
Music: Carter Burwell
Film Editing: Ethan and Joel Coen
Casting: Ellen Chenoweth
Production Design: Jess Gonchor
Art Direction: Stefan Dechant
Viewed on 2011 Paramount Home Entertainment DVD

With a final score of 59 the overall content or the magnitude of the content of this film is indeed PG-13 equivalent, a hard PG-13 but PG-13 equivalent nonetheless. However, as revealed by the Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area, the violence content of this film is certainly R-equivalent. It is advisable, however, that if even one of the investigation areas finds enough content to earn a R-equivalent area score, the entire film should be considered R-equivalent since the "PG-13" and less severe parts cannot be viewed without viewing the "R parts" as well.

Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfield) is after Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the man who killed her father for two California gold pieces. With a vengeance [Rom. 12:19] Mattie will not give up. Ever. After leaving home and travelling to Fort Smith to collect her father's things and settle his estate, 14 year old Mattie hires US Marshal Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) for $50 to help her track Chaney into the Choctaw Nation. As plans evolve Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) gets drawn into the fray.

I have not seen the original True Grit of 1969 with John Wayne so I do not know how true this remake is to the original. I may view the original just to prepare a comparative to see how content has changed but that is of low priority for now. It may be interesting, though. Interesting if not to see the changes in content then to see how Bridges emulates The Duke (John Wayne). And how Steinfield (who was 14 years old in the remake) emulates Darby (who was 22 years old in the original).

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
Some very graphic killing is portrayed in this film. Some very graphic aggression injuries are portrayed as well. Mattie has to cut down a decaying dead man after his hanging. A triple hanging is portrayed ... graphically. A man's fingers get sliced off and is stabbed. Another man is shot in the face and we are treated to the artistry of the trauma moulage experts. Gun battles with deaths abound.

While many of us feel violence is sometimes "necessary" or "deserved", God does not share our grasp of violence. He warns us that violence is "catching." [Prov. 16:29] Even man has chimed in on God's Wisdom and revealed that "viewing violence may lead to real life violence."

Impudence/Hate (I) - 71 out of 100
Seven times someone speaks a word of profanity [Col. 3:8] which is atypically infrequent for a PG-13 film. And a couple lies stole a few more points from the starting 100 points in this investigation area.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 94 out of 100
The only demonstration of behavior that is applicable to this investigation area was the "spanking" LaBoeuf gave Mattie. An adult male has no business slapping the buttocks of a 14 year old girl. I will put in a plug for the writers: that not once did any of the bad guys (or anyone else) utter one ounce of innuendo about anything sexual or any inference about anything sexual with a 14 year old girl. Good job, Ethan and Joel Cohen!

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 52 out of 100
Cogburn is a drunk. And it is not hidden throughout the film. Drinking and drunkenness appear a few times. Smoking appears a couple times as well. Twice Mattie rolls a cigarette for Cogburn.

Offense to God (O) - 49 out of 100
One of Cogburn's "favorite" expressions, was God's name in vain with the four letter expletive. Five times. In fact, he is the only one who used that expression. God makes no distinction between abuse of His name with or without the four letter expletive. God warns that He will hold accountable all those who abuse His name. He even made a Commandment about abuse of His name. But do we listen? Do we not care that He spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there? [Deut. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 90 out of 100
There was one murder, a stabbing murder that did not kill the victim immediately but rather suffered a lingering death. While there were many additional killings portrayed throughout this film, each was one of those kill-or-be-killed killings and could not thus be called murder. All the kill-or-be-killed killings were incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Rom. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], and filthy language [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene speech] from your lips.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    True Grit (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • tale of murder
  • dead bodies, repeatedly
  • public hanging of three
  • long tale of death and killing
  • assault of children
  • dead man hanging by the neck
  • adolescent dealing with decaying dead man hanging (cutting him down), graphic
  • gunfire to kill, repeatedly
  • bloody injury, repeatedly
  • threat to kill
  • fingers sliced off hand
  • gunblast in face killing, graphic
  • admission of thievery
  • gun battles with and without deaths, repeatedly, some graphic
  • gunfire injury, repeatedly
  • abduction of adolescent
  • firearm to face of adolescent
  • knife to throat of adolescent with threat to kill
  • adolescent killing a man
  • decayed body
  • snake bite on adolescent
  • knifing horse to make it go farther
  • euthanizing of a horse

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 71 out of 100
  • seven uses of profanity
  • frequent verbal volley ball between characters

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 94 out of 100
  • inappropriate touch of 14 year old girl by adult male (spanking)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 52 out of 100
  • drinking
  • drunkenness, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • adolescent girl rolling cigarettes for an adult male

    Offense to God (O) - 49 out of 100
  • six uses of God's name in vain, five with the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 90 out of 100
  • one murder by stabbing

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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