Oh how I miss new movies! At least it gives us time to go back and watch the ones we missed. Here is a review from our guest blogger, author Deborah Hawkins.
Two young boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the vigilantes that are on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.
A film like Mud is usually referred to as a “coming of age” story. It fits this label but delivers more.
Mud follows the adventures of Neckbone and Ellis, two fourteen year-olds with unhappy home lives, who live in Arkansas along the Mississippi River. As the movie starts, Neckbone brings his best friend, Ellis, to a small island in the middle of the river to explore a recent discovery he made, a boat stuck in a tree. Concluding that the craft came to be stuck in the tree during a flood that happened a long time ago, it appears that they had discovered a wonderful, mysterious world where they’d be in charge and where they could periodically escape their problems at home.
During their island visit, they realize that someone has already made a home out of the boat, and we’re soon introduced to Mud (Matthew McConoughey), a drifter who claims only two possessions, a Colt 45 pistol and the shirt on his back.
Mud turns out to be a gritty, but romantic, drifter. He is unabashedly forthcoming with the boys about his predicament. He killed a man that had abused the love of his life and is being hunted by both the law and bounty hunters pooled together to avenge the killing. He enlists the help of the two boys to fix the boat and rescue Juniper, his true love.
While “coming of age” films typically, feature lost innocence (often sexual), or overcoming fears (remember the classic, Stand by Me?), or some bold action that seems likely to define the rest of a character’s life, the transformation that the audience is taken through in this film is more subtle but maybe deeper.
Ellis learns to accept that the world of adults, especially when it comes to matters of the heart, is complicated. He wants to help Mud because he wants to believe in love. How he comes to the realization that people can love each other but not necessarily live happily ever after is beautifully told.
McConoughey (Mud), Tye Sheridan (Ellis), Reece Witherspoon (Juniper), Sam Shepard (Mud’s father figure, Tom) and the entire cast deliver wonderful performances, but the soul of this movie is the writer, Jeff Nichols.
Mud is a simple story, beautifully told; affecting and satisfying.
Author of The Best Of No Small Thing — Mindful Meditations and Practice Gratitude: Transform Your Life
Visit my blog: No Small Thing
*Deborah also has a book tour this coming November for her collection, The Best of No Small Things. See here for details!