Mud (2012)

Mud (2012)
  • Time: 135 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Jeff Nichols
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Tye Sheridan


A pair of inquisitive adolescents encounter a charismatic drifter with an incredible story in this drama from Take Shelter writer/director Jeff Nichols. Mississippi adolescents Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are exploring along the mighty Mississippi when they stumble upon a small island inhabited by Mud (Matthew McConaughey), a desperado who claims to be on the run from brutal bounty hunters after killing a man in Texas. According to Mud, his true love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) is awaiting his arrival in town, and together they plan to make a daring escape. Fascinated, the two boys agree to help Mud slip past his pursuers, despite the potential dangers of doing so. Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, and Michael Shannon co-star.


  • “Mud” is an excellent film full of drama, teenage-crush, betrayal, friendship and love. I enjoyed this movie for many reasons. First I felt like this movie had a much different vibe than any movie I’ve seen in a while – No cheap tricks or over the top dialogue, and the story was unique. This movie will stick with me for a while because the characters felt so real – they are wounded and real. I absolutely loved Mcconaughey in the role of Mud. He felt believable as a guy on the run living off the land. Well shot, well acted, overall I recommend this movie to those who like a soulful movie about the harshness of life and the strength of love. Slow moving, but watch out for the ending!

  • They’ve never quite had a role model to look up to. Ellis’ father lacks the luck to keep his life stable, and the ability to comprehend it. With no parents in the picture, Neckbone lives with his bachelor uncle who beds a new woman every night, but doesn’t have the respect for women that is needed to carry on a successful relationship. As a result, these two preteen boys are left to ride around town on a bike Neckbone made himself and explore the lake that Ellis lives on. On one particular day, the two boys find a boat that is stuck in a tree as a result of a flood. On further investigation, they see that someone is living in it, and they find this person not long after. He’s tall, skinny, and dirtier than the ground he walks on. He grew up in the same town as Ellis and Neck, but that was a long time ago. Seeing the youthful motivation in their eyes, the man strikes a deal; if the boys bring him food, he’ll give them his boat once he cuts it out of the tree. Without much thinking, Ellis shakes the man’s worn and tattooed hand.
    With only the title “Mud” to know the man by, the two boys leave him and continue on their lives, and they take their little motorboat over to see Mud. As they spend more time with the homeless man, Ellis and Neck learn more about him, and they realize that his past parallels their future. Both Ellis and Mud love women that can’t love them back, and they find that they’re both set on a path together full of emotions.

    My Thoughts
    Though not necessarily commercially successful, Mud was a big hit among film festival crowds, and it gave America its first glimpse of the acting chops that Matthew McConaughey had if he doesn’t take his shirt off in every scene he’s in. This 2012 film showed directors that he had the abilities necessary for a serious role, and he was cast as Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club; a role for which he was awarded the Best Actor title during the 2014 Academy Awards. Contrary to his previous persona of a sultry Texan with a set of killer abs, McConaughey is a down on his luck, emotionally-captivating character in this film, and he set himself on a path of award-winning potential.
    In support of McConaughey are two child actors (Tyre Sheridan and Jacob Lofland), Reese Witherspoon, and Sam Shepard. Both of the preteen actors are quite good at playing their characters’ range of emotions, definitely capturing the Southern atmosphere with success. Witherspoon does a great job as the battered Juniper, Mud’s lost girlfriend, and Sam Shepard plays his character role very well.
    Aside from the acting, the other aspects are well-suited for the film. The cinematography captures the Southern landscape very well, and the score works with the on-screen action successfully.
    In terms of storyline and themes, I thought that this film was very rich with symbolism. For example, Mud’s shirt, water snakes, and nightingales are recurring symbols for the struggles faced by the characters.
    Overall, I found this film to be quite good. My original motivation to watch this movie came after reading that this performance by McConaughey is what helped him land his roles in Dallas Buyers Club and Interstellar. Both my parents and I agree that it carries somewhat of the same feeling as a Stand by Me-type film. Also, I have read in other places that people liken it to a story that Mark Twain might tell, and I share this thought.
    Although this film is centered around two preteen boys, it is a film for the grownups. Frequent uses of cuss words (s****, d**n, etc.) and suggestive ideas take this movie to a PG-13 rating. Even if your family is tolerant of such things, I don’t think that a younger person could quite understand the themes and characters that exist in this story.

    Score: 7.5/10
    Comments: The pace of this film is quite slow until the last 10 minutes, which means that you sit through 2 hours of the film without much liveliness. However, I definitely recommend this film to anyone who doesn’t mind a sort of independent film, and likes films that take place the South.

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  • Mud is like the procession of Echternach, but with 5 steps going forward. So not that painfully slow. Although it’s limited to 10 minutes of more movement in the end, this movie still continues to fascinate because of the engaging conversations and magnificent images of the Mississippi.

    The thread throughout the entire film is the trust that Ellis, a boy who’s at the intersection to adulthood, has in Mud, a fugitive who apparently killed someone who ruined the life of his childhood sweetheart Juniper. Mud is hiding in a motorboat, high in the trees, which the boys discovered on a deserted island. They help Mud to collect components, even a complete engine, for the boat. And that’s unfortunately the main part of the total film. The two rascals moving back and forth to the island.
    The trust that Ellis has in Mud, comes from the fact that he demonstrates a honest love for Juniper (limited role by Reese Witherspoon. Still an angelic appearance). Something Ellis is missing at home because of the impending divorce of his parents, resulting in the loss of the houseboat. This trust disappears when Mud is too cowardly to tell Juniper in person he’s going to leave her and Ellis has to do the job by handing over a note.

    Another story line is the flourishing, but unrequited love from Ellis for the older Pearl May. And at the end all the bounty hunters who show up in the town to hunt down Mud.
    That’s it in a nutshell, with a fairly action-packed and predictable ending.

    What fascinated me about this movie? The interaction of the characters of the two boys, the efforts of the parents of Ellis and uncle Neck Bone to provide a minimum livelihood. And the peace conveyed in this movie thanks to the frequent images of the quiet rippling Mississippi. Several times I found the dry conversations, with a total lack of emotion, between two adolescents hilarious. Subsequently it turns into a mature tone when conversing with the older people. Therefore I think it’s a brilliant performance of Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland.

    Matthew McConaughey is a colorless figure. And two things that struck me was : a total lack of food, but cigarettes he apparently had enough. And he looks unwashed with his scruffy hair, beard and dusty appearance … but that shirt remains dazzling white throughout the complete film ….

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