Movie Review: Mud

Mud one sheetEllis and Neckbone are two 14 year old friends in the deep south. When travel down the river to claim a boat stuck in a tree they come across a man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey). The interaction between Mud and Ellis is the heart of this coming of age movie.

Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and his family live in the Mississippi River in a house boat. Dad sells fish but mom wants to move off the river. To Ellis becoming a “townie” is one of the worst things that could happen to him, he seems to see his parents imploding marriage as something that just doesn’t happen. His best friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) lives with his uncle in the trailer part. Neckbone’s uncle deep-water divers for oysters that he sells. Mud is this mysterious man who lives out in the woods. He’s waiting for the love of his life Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) and hiding from the cops and some Texas bounty hunters. Ellis of course looks up to Mud while Neckbone sees though most of his story. Ellis is trying to come into his own. He adores a high school girl May Pearl from afar, he believes that love is all you need. There’s a clear contrast here, Ellis is an idealistic dreamer who still has the dreams of a child and hasn’t yet been crushed. Neckbone is much more world weary. Neither of them have ideal lives so to see the stark contrast in their outlooks on life gives you perspective.

Mud, Neckbone and Ellis

Mud is as contrary as they come. We are meant to see Mud as a man-child. The only other adult who knows Mud is Tom. Tom (Sam Shepard) lives across the river from Ellis and his family, and years ago someone raised Mud after he was found abandoned in the woods as a child. Tom loves Mud but doesn’t understand why he doesn’t just grow up or see how toxic his relationship with Juniper is. The relationship with Juniper and Mud goes back at least 20 years and its the typical cycle of good and bad.

Mud has strong acting all the way around. The story is different from your typical coming of age story in that its not just about the boys but also about Mud who as an adult still hasn’t managed to fully grow up. While it is still in very limited release, Mud does not disappoint. Its definitely worth seeing.

My Rating: Full Price
Director: Jeff Nichols
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 10, 2013 (Limited)
Run time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Studio: Everest Entertainment, Lionsgate Entertainment

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