Movie Review for Mud

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Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Ray McKinnon



Directed by Jeff Nichols


Rated: PG-13

Run Time: 130 mins

Genre: Drama


Opens April 26


By Lisa Minzey of The Reel


Hey Phoenix Film Fans!  Opening in theaters this week is the drama “Mud:” starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland & Reese Witherspoon. “Mud” was nominated at the 2012 Cannes film Festival for the Palme d’Or Award.


Growing up in the south is considered a whole other world to much of the country, but to Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and his best friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), there’s no better place to be then cruising down the river, fishing and exploring the marshes of the area.  When the boys discover a boat in a tree, they try to stake a claim to their new found property.  Trouble is that someone beat them to it. A mysterious drifter man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) has been living in the boat waiting for a “friend” to meet up with him.  The boys are unsure about this Mud guy, so Mud strikes a deal with them.  If the boys help get him food, the boat is theirs when he leaves the area.  The boys agree but Neckbone is wary of Mud, not sure if he can be trusted. Ellis is more trusting of Mud and strikes a friendship with the drifter, learning more about how he ended up on their island.


Mud is waiting for a long time love, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) but trying to connect has been an issue. Mud is on the run from the law as he killed a man over Juniper. Ellis, a sucker for a good love story, gets sucked into helping Mud further, being his errand boy in delivering messages to an old friend, who is his across-the-river-neighbor, Tom Blankenship (Sam Sheppard).


Tom warns Ellis and Neckbone to stay away from Mud because he’s delusional, a liar and nothing but trouble, yet Ellis can’t stay away. When they see that Juniper is in town, the boys let Mud know who’s now more determined than ever to meet up with her.  Hot on Juniper’s trail is a slew of bounty hunters looking to cash in on the reward for Mud.  Will Mud and Juniper be reunited or will old habits get in the way destroying their happiness for good?


Over the past few years,  Matthew McConaughey has chosen some strange and ridiculous roles (i.e. “Bernie” and “Magic Mike”) but returns to his strong dramatic roots in a role he is interesting and engaging to watch. His performance is eclipsed by the two young actors of the cast, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland who will be ones to keep on your radar in upcoming years as they give powerhouse performances. “Mud” has a “Stand By Me” feel to its essence but runs a tad too long. The writing and directing, courtesy of Jeff Nichols who pulled double duty on this film, did a wonderful job creating this world where you truly felt the vibe and atmosphere of Dewitt, AK, the characters, pace of life, concerns, heartbreaks and moments cherished by the characters.  Be sure to catch “Mud” when it opens in theaters starting Friday April 26, 2013.