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Mud (2013)

April. 26,2013
| Drama

Two boys find a fugitive hiding out on an island in the Mississippi River and form a pact to help him reunite with his lover and escape.


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This is a small, humorous movie in some ways, but it has a huge heart. What a nice experience.

Quiet Muffin

This movie tries so hard to be funny, yet it falls flat every time. Just another example of recycled ideas repackaged with women in an attempt to appeal to a certain audience.


This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time. You have to go and see this on the big screen.


Actress is magnificent and exudes a hypnotic screen presence in this affecting drama.


I was disappointed with the fact that Mud didn't find what he came for in the end. Also, I thought that the relationship between Mud and the boys was a little forced, and would've never worked outside of a film, given Neckbone's strong personality and protectiveness towards himself and Ellis.


An Amazon reviewer commented that this film has an essence of "Stand By Me" about it, and that was all it took to convince me to give it a try - without even reading any more of their review.They weren't wrong. Almost the first shot of the film features a boy who closely resembles River Phoenix in "Stand By Me", including the same haircut and similar white t-shirt. And the mood and flavour of the film continues to be similar throughout, with additional overtones of "The Client", "The Cure", and even elements of Stephen King's "IT" (the original, not the remake). Because, of course, this is just one in a long and distinguished line of coming-of-age dramas, mostly featuring boys aged between 11 and 14, mostly in bucolic rural settings, and mostly unsupervised, that can trace their origins back to Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. It is a genre that is nearly always richly evocative, and speaks to a nostalgic place, particularly to be found in the male soul, that yearns for the freedom and adventure of ones' youth - either fondly remembered, or wishfully imagined.These specific stories, which are quintessentially American, have their cousins in every other culture around the world - wherever young boys live and play and explore the world around them in search of adventure and independence. As a Brit, my version of "Huckleberry Finn" was "Swallows and Amazons" which reflected my own culture's youthful adventures of a bygone age, and remains powerfully resonant and evocative to me even in middle age. I was lucky enough to actually have a childhood like that, so I can enjoy real memories as well as imagination.But I also grew up with the American mythology too, and when "Stand By Me" first hit the screens, it touched that special place in the centre of my soul that will forever be a 12 year-old boy. I'm particularly susceptible to such stories.Mud is one such story, and it is beautifully realised. The screenplay is honest, raw, and unflinching. It is also pleasingly male-centric, with not a single trace of post-feminist political correctness. Every featured female character is a representation of the various ways that women can hurt and abuse men, and every featured male character has been hurt or abused by a female in one way or another. Now, although this may not seem realistic or fair, it is purely because the film is entirely presented from a male perspective - which is both refreshing and deeply satisfying if, like me, you are a male who has grown up in a world where anyone who owns a penis is automatically fair game.Personally, I've had enough of watching "empowered" women "heroically" kicking men's asses in movies. And I've had enough of watching men always being the abuser. In this film, the women are all abusive in one way or another, but they are also depicted realistically and with more even-handedness than male characters would have been if their roles had been reversed. The dialogue is also intelligently written, and the two central characters - boys in their early teens - are written and depicted honestly and with great respect. There is no dumbing-down here.The cinematography is attractive and straightforward, perfectly capturing the beauty of the great outdoors without falling into any of the usual clichés. There are no smoke-filled woods with sun rays piercing through. There are no arty close-ups of barbed wire with out-of-focus red barns in the background. There are no shots of people silhouetted against the sunset. (At least, if there were, I wasn't distracted by them).Similarly, the music doesn't draw attention to itself, the editing is equally unobtrusive, and the director wisely keeps his actors from chewing-up any scenery. In short, it is good straightforward storytelling, rather than "art". And much as I enjoy "art", with a movie of this nature the story must come first.And finally, with regard to the cast, I can only say that they all did a great job. The supporting cast, most of whom bring a lot of Hollywood "baggage" with them, are sensibly kept in the background, with the exception of McConaughey who turns in a solid (and possibly quite smelly) performance.But the absolute stars of this film are the two boys, both of whom would be equally good in any of the coming-of-age movies that have ever been made. Their acting is natural, confident, nuanced, and filled with - my favourite word - verisimilitude. And the central performance from Tye Sheridan is nothing short of breath-taking. As I was watching, I was thinking "this kid is going to be a huge star". I had never heard of him before. But having since looked him up, I can see that he's already well on the way to my prediction, with an impressive body of work under his belt. I was reminded of both River Phoenix in "Stand By Me" and Brad Renfro in "The Client". And that is a little bit unsettling, based on how both of their young lives were tragically ended. So I hope that Tye Sheridan achieves the success that he so totally deserves, but without falling into the same traps.Overall, "Mud" is a strong addition to a favourite genre of mine. Not the best (hence not 10 stars) but a thoroughly well-made film.


This movie had my attention from the first second to the last one. I couldn't take my eye off of it, enjoyed it plenty. As the movie goes on, you get to know more about each character in an interesting manner. I could relate much to those boys because I used to be adventurous at that age and I grew up in the country. I'd definitely recommend you to watch it.

Mike Joseph Raymond

This is an old school, character driven story.It is Dark and gritty and if you enjoy this kind of stories I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed.The performances are solid and strong from the kids to the seasoned actors (loved Sam Shepard.) Matthew McConaughey really brings it as an outcast recluse and makes you feel quite a bit uncomfortable on several occasions.It is nicely shot. Well edited. A fitting score.I highly recommend it.