I made a particular effort to get to a select theatre to see “Mud” because the critic reception was almost universally positive. Spawning from a film festival and a mere 10 million dollar budget, “Mud” is a charming southern adventure in Arkansas following two boys, Ellis and Neckbone, who stumble upon a boat stuck in a tree occupied by the larger than life character named Mud, who’s shirt is more important than his gun, played by Matthew McConaughey, who asks the boys for help with food and supplies in return for the boat they so dearly want. Mud is waiting for the love of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). He tells the boys the story of how she saved him when he was bit by a snake and has been head over heels since. Ellis takes this story to heart as he struggles with the separation of his parents and the loss of his home on the river. Ellis and Neckbone help Mud try to get back to Juniper, uncovering his past and realizing that Mud is in more trouble than they could imagine.
“Mud” is a movie that idealizes the wilderness of the Mississippi as the refuge and collection for the protagonists amid the drama. It’s unconventional in that it’s mostly through the perspective of Ellis yet isn’t directed to a child audience. Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) give a surprisingly good performances given their age and the subject matter. It’s a coming of age tale for Ellis and Neckbone, presenting unconventional themes and story telling as well as interesting characters, which gives it a unique flare understandably all the rage for movie critics and enthusiasts. While McConaughey’s interesting character as Mud gives the film it’s weight and mystery, the unique pace of the story makes the film quite enjoyable, unpredictable, and heartfelt. Throw it on the Netflix queue.
“Smooth sailing from here.”