My dad recently celebrated a proud day. When God gave him three daughters, he wasn’t sure what he would do with all of us, but he did his best to help us all grow up to be aware of and considerate of the male kind. He knew he succeeded when all of us wanted to see the movie True Grit.
I’ve never seen the original, but I really liked the new one. I loved the dialogue (and the delivery of it). I enjoyed the characters, the settings, and the situations. It’s a great story about Mattie’s thirst for vengence, her relationships with Rooster Cogburn and LaBoeuf, and the results of those relationships.
So why did they spoil the ending my telling us how Mattie never married and spent her life alone?
It’s not that I mind that she died alone (though I think that’s quite sad). What I mind is that it has nothing to do with the story. It’s dramatic enough that she lost a limb, never saw LaBoeuf again, and missed seeing Cogburn by three days. Those are all great aspects of a great story, and even a sad story can be a great story.
But why go on and depress us by telling us that Mattie never really moved past that part of her life? Why would you tell us that she never had time to get married, that she died alone?
As soon as I heard the narrator talk about that I had one thought – you’re manipulating me.
It felt like the writer wanted to make sure we knew it’s a sad story, so he threw in another little bit to seal the deal. The problem, however, is that the info wasn’t part of the true story being told. It was just an add on, used to ensure my sadness.
I still like True Grit. It’s a fantastic movie. The writer, however, might just be a dork. That’s okay, though. I have to thank him. That movie has opened my eyes to the emotion that I put into my novels.
Is it genuine? Is it needed? Is it part of the story that I’m telling, or am I just trying to create feelings in my readers? That’s definitely something I need to watch for when I write.
QUESTION: Have you ever felt like a book or movie was trying to tell you to feel a certain way instead of actually evoking those emotions? If so, how did you really feel about it?