Autumn 2013 Features series
Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 7:00pm
Directed by Jeff Nichols
Screenplay by Jeff Nichols
Starring Jacob Lofland, Tye Sheridan, and Matthew McConaughey
Rated PG ·
Widely acclaimed following its premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and screenings at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Mud is director Jeff Nichols’ much-anticipated follow-up to 2011’s Take Shelter. Setting his coming-of-age tale on the shores of the Mississippi River, Nichols riffs astutely on storytelling traditions from American film and literature to create an original and intoxicating film.
Ellis (Tye Sheridan, The Tree of Life) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), two serious and adventurous boys, discover a boat perched on a tree on a Mississippi island. Exploring what they believed was a quiet and empty area, the boys meet Mud (Matthew McConaughey; The Paperboy, Bernie), a fugitive who claims he killed a man in Texas for the love of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon; Rendition). Intrigued by Mud, Ellis convinces Neckbone that they should aid him in his quest to see Juniper again, and the boys become accomplices to a man being chased by police, bounty hunters and criminals.
Nichols takes us on a cinematographically stunning, beautifully paced survey of the Mississippi landscape, of boys getting their first sense of adulthood, and of a man driven to the brink by love. Mud establishes Jeff Nichols as one of the most interesting and cinematically well-versed directors in America, while McConaughey delivers one of the best performances of his career.
“Here, is a riverbound adventure about two young boys who take it upon themselves to provide shelter and friendship for an adult fugitive… an affectionate coming-of-age tale that explores ideas of Southern manhood — both entertaining and endearing. Watching Mud unfold, one suspects that the Arkansas-reared Nichols remembers exactly what it was like to be a boy of the Southern wilds. What’s more, he seems to remember with aching clarity that moment — accompanied by a whirl of anger, frustration and confusion — in which boyish naivete is dashed against the river rocks by cold, harsh reality. But Mud isn’t as cynical as that makes it sound. Several layers of conflict bob and weave their way throughout Nichols’ film, but its center is the struggle playing out in Ellis’ head and in his heart. As it all flows easily but determinedly toward its conclusion, the noble Ellis must decide whether to submit and become hardened and cynical — like every other man in his life — or to protect that shrinking but comforting sense of hope, tattered though it may be, within him.” (Mike Scott, New Orleans Times-Picayune)
“The movie, filled with miscreants, mysteries, a scandalous hero named Mud and a couple of boys as headstrong as Huck Finn, is one of the most creatively rich and emotionally rewarding movies to come along this year… McConaughey beautifully articulates with his honeyed drawl the very essence of a grizzled, determined romantic. It is the best work of the actor’s career, though virtually everyone in the film turns in sensitively drawn performances, particularly the boys.” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times)