Mud is one of the better movies I have seen this year. I only hope that Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon can bring enough attention to movie goers in the trailers to entice folks to see the movie. The story is one of love and heartbreak on many levels, childhood - both present and past, and life on the river. Let me get this straight, this not a chick flic. In fact, I passed on this film several times, it was not on my list to see. However, it was on my DH's. So, in our democratic choice of movies, we saw it.
The film opens with two 14 year old Arkansas river rats, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofton), on a mission in their jon boat on the Mississippi. The tale ties together those two boys, a boat suspended in a tree, a superstitious stranger, an even more mysterious blonde, and the band of bad guys in her wake. Anything else here would give away the story itself and I never want to do that.
Does this sound like a southern novel or what? Conroy or Williams could have easily penned this tale.
As an English Lit major, I could wax on and on about the symbolism and allegories of this story. However, I will spare you. Thinking about it, was the screen play written with those in mind or was the story so good that it reflects those elements without even trying - just like real life? (Imagine that.)
The story unfolds as slowly and smooth as the river. (OK, OK, I couldn't help myself.) The characters are all flawed which is what makes the movie so real and the 130 minutes go by before you know it.
A lot of people do not care for McConaughey, but in this role, he shows his strength as an actor. Unlike the dapper sexy male role he has played in the past, here you never see McConaughey, or his blue eyes. You see Mud, a character well named in so many ways. (Prof. Morrison deserves at least one.) Witherspoon's character plays a larger role than she does. And, you could not pull better performances out of Sheridan and Lofton. There is an Oscar there for casting.
Yes, I highly recommend the film. And, most likely, the majority of the movie going public will not see it until it is re-released after the award season when it (should) take(s) home prizes for merit. It has already received two nominations at the Cannes Film Festival.