Saturday Movies: Mud (2012)

If you liked Take Shelter then you should like Jeff Nichols’ movie Mud even better. It takes us inside the lives of a small town group of people once again, and while the scenario doesn’t seem as fantasy like it still connects themes that relate more to a childhood fantasy and pull us in. When first considering to watch Mud it just seems like it felt obscure in what it was about, so I was glad to find a movie that was well worth watching that couldn’t follow just one plot but many that strung together.

Summary: Ellis and Neckbone are two young boys growing up by the river, but their lives will be changed when they meet a wanted fugitive, Mud, living in a boat they had plans to take. While Neckbone is more reluctant, Ellis wants to help Mud escape and reunite him with his lost love, Juniper. With Ellis having his first love, and his parents separation it seems that Ellis is looking for hope somewhere that love works perfectly is there are people who really do have mutual love. Things grow out of control as the boys discover though that Mud has gotten himself tangled in a lot more than they thought.

Acting: Matthew McConaughey is making a comeback with his acting. For a while people were beginning to write him off for some rom com movies, but seemed to have forgotten his work from the 90’s. Now he is on a streak again, and as Mud he brings to life the character well. He makes him feel human despite the fact he also seems like a really weird guy who needs to get his life together. The way he cares for the two boys who are looking toward him with influence is sweet though. Reese Witherspoon also has her first better role in a while as Juniper. I think Witherspoon is trying to roughen up her image a bit, and Juniper does that for her. The two younger actors do well too. If they continue on this route they should have some longevity to their careers.

Filming: Set alongside a river the scenery is bland but is somehow brought to life through the eyes of the youth. It reminded me a lot of being younger, and I don’t even think kids would be like the two fourteen year old boys in this movie now. Most of them have their face in a phone somewhere now instead of out roaming and exploring. Nichols also captures the country vibe well. It doesn’t make country people look dumb, and it highlights the niceness of a more simple life. The contrasting darkness of the characters lives make it complex though.

Plot: The plot is one that I think centers around Ellis, and it conveys the quick growth he goes through in a short time. At the beginning of the movie he is very naive and seems unaware of the realities of becoming an adult. He’s quick to believe. By the end though things are a bit more jaded, but he seems to be better prepared to grow into an adulthood. I also liked how Mud grew more complex as the story grew as well. At the beginning he seems to be a loner just in love but by the end you can see why he might be a loner and the complexities of the relationship he was in.

Mud takes an important look at some themes that I think most can relate to. Like love, innocence, youth, friendship, and more. It ties it up into this story that weaves everything very well together. I think maybe some stories do try to add on to the movie too much, so you feel at one point you have an over abundance of too many characters, but otherwise it is a strong movie.

Rating 8 of 10.

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