Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Apr 26, 2013
    100
    Watching Mud unfold, one suspects that the Arkansas-reared Nichols remembers exactly what it was like to be a boy of the Southern wilds.
  2. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Apr 25, 2013
    100
    One of the most creatively rich and emotionally rewarding movies to come along this year.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 25, 2013
    100
    Jeff Nichols's third feature traffics unerringly in truth, delicious surprise, unadorned beauty and unforced wisdom.
  4. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Apr 25, 2013
    100
    Mud is steeped in a sense of place, and the people inhabiting it. Southern. Superstitious. Suspenseful. Sublime.
  5. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Feb 26, 2013
    100
    That Nichols is able to orchestrate this entire journey with steady tension and lyrical imagery is a testament to his storytelling capabilities.
  6. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Apr 29, 2013
    90
    Glorious vision of youth and truth, love and loss, your name is Mud.
  7. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Apr 25, 2013
    89
    With American independent film teeming with so many shaky-cam snarksters, what an electric riposte to the status quo is Nichols, whose films are classically constructed and deadly serious. In his short but potent career, he’s mastered a wide-vistaed eye for the epic and the elemental.
  8. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Apr 26, 2013
    88
    A provocative mood piece. Nichols, who had an art-house hit in 2011 with “Take Shelter,” has a gift for creating characters of unusual depth, and for eliciting performances of emotional resonance. With Mud, he seems to be edging closer to the mainstream, but his skills are as sharp as ever.
  9. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Apr 25, 2013
    88
    Mud runs over two hours, climaxing with a shootout that belongs in a different movie. It’s a rare misstep in an art-house movie that will pull mainstream audiences along as inexorably as the Mississippi River. Go see it.
  10. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Apr 25, 2013
    88
    This is where a filmmaker’s taste and reflexive sense of balance makes all the difference. Southern culture may be on the skids in Mud, but Nichols’s sensitive portrayal is gratifyingly on the level.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Apr 25, 2013
    88
    In the hands of Nichols, Mud emerges as a thing of bruised beauty. There's magic in it.
  12. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Apr 24, 2013
    83
    There's something old-fashioned about Mud, but if you allow yourself to settle into its leisurely pace, it will reward you. If he were alive today, Mark Twain would approve.
  13. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    May 5, 2013
    80
    A bold, intelligent, 21st century take on Mark Twain — with added occult tendencies.
  14. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Apr 25, 2013
    80
    Mr. Nichols’s screenplay is perhaps a little too heavily plotted, especially toward the end, when everything comes together neatly and noisily, but he more than compensates with graceful rhythm, an unfussy eye for natural beauty and a sure sense of character and place.
  15. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 25, 2013
    80
    The story is intriguing enough to make Mud a good movie. Led by Sheridan and McConaughey, the performances make it something more.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Feb 26, 2013
    80
    Mud poses as a mere adolescent adventure tale but explores a rich vein of grown-up concerns, exploring codes of honor, love and family too solid to be shaken by modernizing forces.
  17. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    May 17, 2013
    75
    So yes, Mud is messy, but it’s also rich and earthy in a way that suggests a filmmaker who is deeply immersed in his story, his characters and his surroundings.
  18. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Apr 25, 2013
    75
    Endearing and believable, the two actors playing Ellis and Neckbone are pitch-perfect.
  19. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Apr 25, 2013
    75
    The spirits of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer are alive and well in the Southern-fried coming-of-age tale Mud. It's got all the ingredients.
  20. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Apr 25, 2013
    75
    You come away from Mud fondly remembering those two boys, especially Ellis, who has taken his first steps toward adulthood and discovers it suits him just fine.
  21. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Apr 24, 2013
    75
    Mud unfortunately begins to develop a sour aftertaste in the handful of minor subplots.
  22. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Apr 24, 2013
    75
    Reese Witherspoon's unglamorous, understated supporting work recalls the kinds of films she made before becoming a movie star. Other recognizable faces include Sam Shepard, Joe Don Baker, Michael Shannon, and Sarah Paulson.
  23. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Apr 23, 2013
    75
    The film ultimately succeeds thanks to small details, from its deep-fried lingo and the swampy texture of its location photography to its uniformly expert cast.
  24. 75
    It doesn’t trivialize Mud to label it Tennessee Williams lite — at least in its romantic notions. Nichols gets good performances out of one and all, but lets himself get so caught up in his sense of place that this potboiler hangs around more than a few minutes after that pot has come to a boil.
  25. 70
    It’s hard to believe Nichols thinks he can get away with all this and harder still to believe he does. It’s the quality of the attention that he brings — his focus — that makes his work so engrossing.
  26. 70
    Jeff Nichols’ much-anticipated follow-up to his breakthrough second feature Take Shelter feels less adventurous and unsettling but remains a well carpentered piece of work marked by some fine performances and resilient thematic fiber.
  27. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 25, 2013
    63
    The most striking aspect of Mud is the air of myth and tall-tale telling that hovers lightly over the settings and characters.
  28. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    May 14, 2013
    60
    It’s a broader, starrier project than either of Nichols’s previous films, and he handles the transition to the major league with relative confidence.
  29. Reviewed by: David Gritten
    Apr 29, 2013
    60
    It’s a lovely, coherent piece of storytelling, with a unique sense of place.
  30. Reviewed by: Jane Crowther
    Apr 26, 2013
    60
    More accessible than "Take Shelter" but not as powerful, Mud boasts stunning photography, a mesmerising lead and a strong evocation of Americana. McConaughey’s gold run continues…
  31. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Apr 23, 2013
    60
    Despite the best efforts of a cast that mixes unstudied newbies such as The Tree of Life’s Sheridan with Hollywood prima donnas like Reese Witherspoon (a starlet-slumming-it distraction as Mud's dim-bulb inamorata), there’s an overall clunkiness that Nichols is unable to overcome.
  32. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Apr 23, 2013
    60
    It's too bad...that a movie so attuned to natural currents in the end gets caught up in Hollywood's impossible ones.
  33. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Feb 26, 2013
    60
    Mud is an engaging and good-looking picture with two bright leading performances from Sheridan and Lofland.
  34. Reviewed by: Simon Abrams
    Feb 26, 2013
    50
    Mud is as unmoving as it is because it doesn’t aspire to be anything other than a competent anti-fairy tale in which the paint-by-number morals are enforced by equally obvious main protagonists.
  35. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Apr 25, 2013
    40
    Stripped of his former pretty-boy image, the Texas-born actor is snarly and gnarled, and understands what Nichols is aiming for. That’s crucial, as Mud needs something to stick to.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 196 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 51
  2. Negative: 4 out of 51
  1. Jul 26, 2013
    10
    Mud is a gripping film from start to finish, marking itself as a modern classic, reminiscent of Stand By Me. McConaughhey delivers his best performance yet as Mud, the man camping out on an island that two boys discover when exploring. Tye Sheridan (Ellis) makes his breakout performance as one of the boys. His friend, Neckbone (played by Jacob Lofland), is excellent as well. Mud captures every emotion with pure accuracy, strategically placing seeds for the audience to feed off of. I could tell you more about Mud, but this is a film you need to experience yourself. Full Review »
  2. Apr 28, 2013
    8
    Quiet but efficient, "Mud" marks a spectacular niche into the subgenre of "coming-of-age-tales," and it includes yet another surprisingly noteworthy performance from Matthew McConaughey. Full Review »
  3. Apr 27, 2013
    8
    Mud is a good film that starts slow, but carefully develops its characters and story. The result a wholly satisfying experience that features some fantastic performances; McConaughey is incredible and the kid Tye Sheridan is also could. Could very well be the Winter's Bone of 2013. Full Review »