Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2006) — PICK

True Grit (2010) — PICK


Two terrific movies you might not have seen — both picks of my annual “Top 10” lists from years past — are new on Amazon Prime.

Utterly charming and unexpectedly moving, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is a droll tale of an unlikely friendship between an elderly widow (delightful Dame Joan Plowright) and a charming young slacker (Rupert Friend).

Dan Ireland’s indie comedy is sensitive to the plight of the elderly and neglected, yet suggests that the elderly have as much to offer the young as to gain from them. You’ll be glad you watched it.

For many people, John Wayne is Rooster Cogburn, but the Coen brothers’ True Grit, starring Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, is not only a better movie, it’s also far more faithful to the Charles Portis novel, with its distinctive language and biblical allusions.

From the opening epigram from Proverbs (“The wicked flee when none pursueth”) to the hymn-laden score (mostly Leaning on the Everlasting Arms), True Grit is among the Coens’ most theological, delicately exploring the dance of justice and grace.

 

CAVEAT SPECTATOR: Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont: Mild profanity and crude language, a couple of brief bedroom scenes (no nudity) involving nonmarital sex. True Grit: Recurring, sometimes bloody Western violence; a few gruesome images; occasional profanity and crass language. Both teens and up.