Mud (2012) Review

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Mud (2012)

Directed by Jeff Nichols

Matthew McConaughey
Tye Sheridan
Sam Shepard
Michael Shannon
Joe Don Baker
Ray McKinnon
Sarah Paulson
Paul Sparks
Jacob Lofland
Reese Witherspoon

Running time: 130 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Two young boys find a man who calls himself Mud hiding out on a small island on the Mississippi River. They later learn he is a fugitive and question him about it. Mud claims he killed a man who was abusing the woman he loves and he plans to repair a damaged boat that’s on the island then reunite with the woman and escape. The boys agree to help Mud with his mission.

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This was quite an odd movie and I think it’ll be a hard one to review. I decided to watch it as it made quite a few end of year Top Ten movie lists done by fellow bloggers.

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I think I remember one blogger comparing Mud to Stand By Me which got my interest as that’s one of my all-time favorite movies. Mud isn’t up there with that one but the comparison makes sense in that this is a coming-of-age drama about two boys (of 14, I think). The story focuses mainly on the boy named Ellis, whose parents are divorcing. He also thinks he’s in love with a girl from school so he’s a big ‘ol bag of mixed teenage hormonal emotions. His friend, with the kick ass name of Neckbone, isn’t so much the focus of the film but I really liked him as he reminded me a lot of River Phoenix in Stand By Me, especially with his haircut. Both boys were great and I hope they go on to do more films after this one. They’re what made the movie.

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Matthew McConaughey has never really been to my taste (or to many people’s, I think). I did like him in this, though, and I like that he’s been doing more serious roles and seems to be becoming a more highly respected actor lately (Mud is the only one I’ve seen of his more serious roles but I have to admit I liked him in Dazed And Confused as I’m from a small town and I knew a guy EXACTLY like his pervy loser). He’s a mysterious character and you never really know if the boys should fully trust him.

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This movie has a slow pace and is more about the characters than about Mud’s story. It won’t be for everyone and I’d only recommend it to those who think they may like it based on what I’ve said so far. McConaughey and especially the two boys give very good performances and you’ll find that you just want a happy ending for them all. The plot itself is quite unique compared to other films and I liked that – it felt like a “fresh” idea even though there wasn’t a lot to it. This movie has the feel of the early 80’s way of life (which I’d totally go back to if I had a time machine) and I actually wondered for a while if this was set in the 80s or if that’s just how things still are these days in Arkansas. I don’t mean that in a bad way – it’s just a very different lifestyle and one that someone living somewhere like London might not be able to relate to but, being from small-town Midwest, it made me a little homesick. Overall, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit and the only weak thing, unfortunately, was Reese Witherspoon who didn’t seem right for her role. Otherwise, I can’t really think of anything bad to say about Mud.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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42 thoughts on “Mud (2012) Review

  1. Have you not seen The Paperboy yet, Cinema Parrot Disco? I thought I had read that our here…? You’ll probably love MM in that one – think: your favorite thing: butts.

    ( ! )

  2. Still haven’t seen this :o( but enjoyed reading the review anyway! McConaughey is on a roll by the sounds of things…but it has all passed me by to date. I need to get renting!

  3. Good review. I quite agree. I also think the violent ending a tonally off. But otherwise this is a really good movie.

    It sounds to me like you need to engage in McConausainnce. Start with Bernie, because it’s fun and streamed on the interwebs. Then Dallas Buyer’s Club, because. Well. Wow.

    If you still aren’t converted, try Lincoln Lawyer.

    If that isn’t enough either, then endure The Paperboy and Killer Joe. Both are hard to like, but McConaughey’s work in them is still impeccable. The only one I haven’t seen is Magic Mike, but he’s supposed to be goo in that, too.

    After all of that, I challenge you to say you’re not a McConaughey fan. 🙂

  4. Good review. Exactly what happens when you give a great cast some material that they’re not only worthy of working with, but just let them do what they do best: Act their rumps off.

  5. Good review, I ranked it a touch higher because I though it was so beautifully shot. Then mix in the performances and I felt like it was something special. But I also can agree that this might be a little bit overblown. And Reese Witherspoon did seem. . .odd in this.

    • Glad we seem to mostly agree! : ) The performances are what really made the movie for me. Especially the two boys. But, yeah – “odd” is a good word to describe Witherspoon being cast in this…

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