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8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 263 Ratings

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  1. Negative: 10 out of 263
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  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 capturesMud 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. Expand
  2. 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.
  3. May 28, 2013
    8
    “Mud” stars Mathew McConaughhey, Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard and two young actors, Tye Sheridan ("Ellis" in the film) and Jacob Lofland (Ellis's friend) in this story of life and intrigue in Arkansas on the Mississippi. Filled with interest, suspense and a wonderfully written screenplay by Jeff Nichols, who also directed the film, it is more than a typical “coming of age” movie for it“Mud” stars Mathew McConaughhey, Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard and two young actors, Tye Sheridan ("Ellis" in the film) and Jacob Lofland (Ellis's friend) in this story of life and intrigue in Arkansas on the Mississippi. Filled with interest, suspense and a wonderfully written screenplay by Jeff Nichols, who also directed the film, it is more than a typical “coming of age” movie for it explores the romantic dreams and aspirations of its young heroes and of Ellis' in particular To describe the two as simply Tom Sawyer and/or Huck Finn types in the modern era does the film a great disservice. This movie captures and vividly desribes what life in the 21st Century for young boys living on the banks of the river is like and how they cope. It is no coincidence that the film's director and writer is a native of Arkansas and the Mississippi and, for this reason, the film's characters and actions ring true.For some unknown reason the film is in limited distribution although, n this writer’s opinion, it deserves much broader exposure. Driven by rich dialogue and scenes along the river community, I give this film an 8 and recommend that it be seen by all within distance of the few houses in which it is playing. I Expand
  4. Jun 6, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It's a white trash family: three brothers, uneducated Southern rednecks all, Arkansas boys who never left town, fatherless boys barely getting by, and still angry. Kid owns nothing but the tent he pitches in the backyard of his older brother, Son, the eldest, the angriest, the only one with shelter, an actual house with a roof, indoor plumbing even. And then there is boy, the middle child, who lives, literally, in a van by the river, the Mississippi, where Huckleberry Finn and Jim, a runaway slave, and likewise, Mud and Tom Blankenship, floated down to freedom in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Mud, respectively. As far back as Shotgun Stories(the filmmaker's 2008 debut), the Mark Twain novel, albeit less explicitly, found a way to impact the narrative, as it pertains to race relations among blacks and whites in this filmic South. Boy, a middle school basketball coach, diagrams plays for his integrated team, schemes, he tells Kid, are based on Nolan Richardson(the first black coach to helm a predominantly white institution in the old South), whose style of ballin he implemented at Arkansas was given the label "forty minutes of hell". Huck, the precocious boy Twain equipped with a relatively progressive mind, more progressive than what passed as thinking in the 19th century South for the most part, says to himself, "All right then, I'll go to hell," before he tears up the letter he addressed to Miss Watson, his guardian, concerning Jim's whereabouts, deciding that he won't doggedly conform to his brethren's policy of degenerate thralldom. With his mind made up, in regard to rescuing the slave from human bondage, Huck muses: "Because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog," or in other words, an entire razorback, a half-breed pig, whose caricatured likeness serves as the state university's nickname for its sports teams, whom Boy champions, both miscegenation(he once had a black girlfriend, and perhaps, kids) and Arkansas hoops luminaries such as Sidney Moncrief and Corliss Williamson. Forty minutes of hell, according to Richardson, originally referred to his team's conditioning drills, a system of values, racist values that the generically-named boys buck, and likewise, Huck, who rebels against institutionalized racism, in which nature wins over nurture, as he willfully follows Jim into hell. Ellis, conversely, in Mud, was raised by progressive-minded Southerners who seemingly turned their backs on the Confederate flag, since the boy's name, a Yankee name, conjures up Ellis Island. The father, a small business owner, sells fresh fish to a largely black clientele, and when his son shows up late for work, he docks the boy ten dollars. No ensuing protestation comes out of Ellis' mouth about the pecuniary fine, since good service, the boy reckons, is a colorblind matter. Later, in Mud, Ellis and his best friend Neckbone, knock on motel room doors, posing as fishmongers, in order to locate Juniper, but before they reach her, the film poses a question, a dialectical one, as a black man, from his entryway, staring blankly at Ellis and Neckbone, asks the two boys, "Why the hell would I want to buy fish?" After all, Huck, despite being Jim's friend, still insists on the slave serving him, telling the runaway Negro to "pass me along another hunk of fish and some hot cornbread." The black man in the room, arguably, is a stand-in for Jim, and he doesn't seem all that impressed that Ellis goes from house to house, handing black customers their bag of fileted fish, according them the same respect as white men. In their heart of hearts, the black man feels, he and his people will always be, in Twain's own parlance, "n*****s". Wherefore The Adventures... is considered, by some, a racist novel, Minor Threat, a DC hardcore band, was also leveled with the same charge of intolerance, in due part to the song "Guilty of Being White". Creating even more dissonance, Neckbone wears a Fugazi tee. "You blame me for slavery," Ian MacKaye writes, "a hundred years before I was born," and, perhaps, not coincidentally, both novel(1884) and album(1984) are separated by the same hundred years. For sure, judging by the askant manner in which the black man from the motel dismisses the boys' harried pitch for fresh catfish, he thinks they are guilty of being white. This reconstructed Jim no longer seems grateful for the kindness of white people, and moreover, doesn't want to participate in a film where slavery is coopted as a metaphor for unrequited love, as in "no man is an island.". Neckbone, in professing his hatred for snakes, wittingly or unwittingly, conveys an antipathy for African-Americans, since the cottonmouths slithering in the pond are black. When Ellis gets bitten, in an intertextual sense, Jim is avenging the prank Huck pulls which leads to his rattlesnake bite. True, Neckbone never "lynched somebody", but is he innocent? Expand
  5. Aug 16, 2013
    8
    Matthew McConaughey seems to have turned a new leaf and is delivering powerful performances one after another as of late. Yet it is young Tye Sheridan who steals the show and I have a hunch that he will become one of my favourites, whilst director Nichols is getting there fast.
  6. May 19, 2013
    8
    Mud is an awesome movie. It's portrayal of the Arkansas wild is great, and the performances are spot on. Matthew McConaughey as Mud is worth watching on its own right. This movie just gives you such a great sense of what it is to live on the river, and so the first hour feels like a sensory feast. It's around the second act that the plot begins to strain, but definitely a film worthMud is an awesome movie. It's portrayal of the Arkansas wild is great, and the performances are spot on. Matthew McConaughey as Mud is worth watching on its own right. This movie just gives you such a great sense of what it is to live on the river, and so the first hour feels like a sensory feast. It's around the second act that the plot begins to strain, but definitely a film worth watching, and a refreshing piece of American cinema. Expand
  7. Jul 14, 2013
    8
    This is a a lovely story, Mr. McConaughhey has shown once again, that he can truly act. If you like human stories this movie is for you. One of the better releases in recent times.
  8. Aug 13, 2013
    9
    "Mud," the third feature from writer and director Jeff Nichols, is a remarkably accomplished piece of storytelling. From his promising, impressive film début, "Shotgun Stories," (2007) to the fascinating "Take Shelter," (2011) both showcases for Michael Shannon, who also has a key-supporting role in this film. Nichols has taken another step forward with his latest, which draws on Mark"Mud," the third feature from writer and director Jeff Nichols, is a remarkably accomplished piece of storytelling. From his promising, impressive film début, "Shotgun Stories," (2007) to the fascinating "Take Shelter," (2011) both showcases for Michael Shannon, who also has a key-supporting role in this film. Nichols has taken another step forward with his latest, which draws on Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" as a rough model for Ellis's story. The film presents an impressive narrative construction and compelling characters with dynamic performances.

    Two boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), speed out on their boat to a nearby spit of land to check out the unusual sight of a boat ensnared in a treetop, when they encounter an inhabitant. Mud (Matthew McConaughey), declares that he's waiting around for an arranged date with girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). So he promptly enlists the help of the boys, who are in need of an adventurous break from their own humdrum lives. The boys have plenty of questions about his origins, but Mud doesn't reveal much. Mud is from around these parts, but fearful, it seems, of straying too close to the people and places of his youth.

    At its heart, "Mud" is a story of the strength of familial bonds, of relationships destroyed by our tragically human, ineradicable flaws, and a coming-of-age film that defines us all. "Mud" deals in simple heartfelt emotions, and in a genuinely moving fashion. Nichols' approach to filmmaking also provides an additional palpable emotional element to the earnest storyline. "Mud" doesn't end up being a perfect film, with a runtime that feels a bit long, and its ending is a little weak. That's not to say it isn't fitting, but it just doesn't feel as satisfying as the rest of the film.

    Always bringing out the best in his cast, Nichols solidifies his status as one of the best indie filmmakers of today. "Mud" delivers astounding performances while wrapping up the perfect blend of dramatic weight and fairy tale happiness. When the story gets going, and the moralities of characters' actions come into play, and there's no way to avoid being captivated by its southern hospitality.
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  9. Aug 10, 2013
    8
    Mud has great acting, great writing, a great story, and a powerful message. I can see this movie being up for a couple academy awards. It doesn't have much action, but when it the action happens it hits you hard. Awesome Flick!
  10. Aug 13, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really dug this film. The story is interesting, the drama is done just right and it has some incredibly strong performances in it. And while McConaughey is awesome in it and it's nice to see him takes roles that push him farther and farther away from the romcom genre, the real movie stealer for me was Tye Sheridan as the young boy that meets Mud and finds his problems increase once he came upon the drifter with a shady past. Expand
  11. Dec 5, 2013
    9
    I get that it doesn't have CG. This movie would have won Academy Awards in another time. I had a strong visceral reaction to this film, which is precisely why I think it is a keeper. The ending didn't quite fit, which is why I gave it a 9. Mud has an undercurrent of emotional drama that few movies have, given that CG rules the day. I watched it with my middle son, who happens to be 28 andI get that it doesn't have CG. This movie would have won Academy Awards in another time. I had a strong visceral reaction to this film, which is precisely why I think it is a keeper. The ending didn't quite fit, which is why I gave it a 9. Mud has an undercurrent of emotional drama that few movies have, given that CG rules the day. I watched it with my middle son, who happens to be 28 and a confirmed syf-y, CG, thriller moviegoer. After the film, he announced that this was the best movie he had seen in a long time. I agree. Take that Avatar. Expand
  12. 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.
  13. Apr 30, 2013
    6
    Two Arkansas boys discover a boat in a tree and the fugitive hiding on the island (Matthew McConaughey). As they help him salvage the boat, they become entangled in his plight and learn about love on several levels. Although audiences will expect to see McConaughey get serious as this rough character (chipped tooth, scruffy beard), it's centered around the boys, who are sweet, earnest andTwo Arkansas boys discover a boat in a tree and the fugitive hiding on the island (Matthew McConaughey). As they help him salvage the boat, they become entangled in his plight and learn about love on several levels. Although audiences will expect to see McConaughey get serious as this rough character (chipped tooth, scruffy beard), it's centered around the boys, who are sweet, earnest and sometimes funny. The story is absorbing, even if it falls apart before it's over. This is a solid drama with subdued direction and compelling performances. Expand
  14. May 15, 2013
    7
    From all the fine reviews, I expected this movie would really "grab" me, but it did not. It is still a very good film, but it was slow in the middle with a number of plot machinations, which could have been avoided. It was not quite clear to me why the one boy (Ellis"), went to such extremes (like stealing) for Mud. I found myself looking at my watch periodically, hoping the film would getFrom all the fine reviews, I expected this movie would really "grab" me, but it did not. It is still a very good film, but it was slow in the middle with a number of plot machinations, which could have been avoided. It was not quite clear to me why the one boy (Ellis"), went to such extremes (like stealing) for Mud. I found myself looking at my watch periodically, hoping the film would get to the "grand finale" soon. When it finally did, it was very intense and well done. The young actors who played the boys did not seem like the best who could have been chosen for these roles. Matthew McConaughey ("Mud), however, was just right for his role (a sort of modern day Paul Newman). Expand
  15. May 13, 2013
    3
    There's nothing particularly bad about this movie, but also nothing entirely amazing. The younger actors were entirely unconvincing and showed almost no emotion throughout the majority of the film. It wasn't bad, but it definitely was not that good.
  16. Feb 6, 2014
    5
    Mud is a strange coming of age story, where one boy learns that love isn't forever and that friendship comes in many different forms. Critics and fans on the movie sites I go to have been raving about this film, so I had to check it out and chime in. I agree with those who say that newcomer, Tye Sheridan, gives an amazing performance, but as for the rest of the film, I think it leavesMud is a strange coming of age story, where one boy learns that love isn't forever and that friendship comes in many different forms. Critics and fans on the movie sites I go to have been raving about this film, so I had to check it out and chime in. I agree with those who say that newcomer, Tye Sheridan, gives an amazing performance, but as for the rest of the film, I think it leaves something to be desired. While out exploring, two boys meet a strange man named Mud, stranded on an island. This man is full of stories and needs the boys help to reconnect with his girlfriend and leave the island. For starters, the film is full of inconsistencies. Mud is starving and needs these boys to bring him food, but somehow, he always has a cigarette in his mouth. One or two things could be overlooked, but the inconsistencies fill up this film. While it's a good story, there isn't a lot of substance to it and the film moves at a snails pace, another thing that tends to turn viewers away. The best thing to do would have been to use flashbacks in Mud's stories to fill the time, instead there are a lot of symbolic scenes of people lost in thought, the business of the town, the kids hanging out, it was very methodical, but also very dull. Matthew McConaughey plays Mud and does a decent job, the problem doesn't lie with him. The film is based on this guy, and for a character with such an interesting past, he really is a sad, dull guy. The only real positive I took away from this film was Tye Sheridan, who plays one of the boys. He does a tremendous job as he starts to realize that love isn't everlasting. To see how this character matures from the beginning of the film to the end, is really remarkable, but it's not unique. Off the top of my head, I can think of a dozen similar stories, where the film is much more interesting and the same thing ends up happening. Mud is ambitious and may be the start of a long career for two young actors, but ultimately it's long, slow, and forgettable. Expand
  17. May 29, 2013
    3
    Because submitted reviews have to be 150 characters long, I have to keep on typing. When all I have to say about the movie is, ZZZZzzzzz, ZZZZzzzzz.
  18. May 1, 2013
    5
    It has been 13 years since Matthew McConaughey played his bongos nude while high on Cannabis and then went into a string of not so romantic or funny romantic comedies. In the past 2 years he has been making a startling comeback with 3-4 highly acclaimed performances and he adds another one with “Mud”. With Medusa like hair, a chipped tooth, scraggly beard, tattoos and with a tan that isIt has been 13 years since Matthew McConaughey played his bongos nude while high on Cannabis and then went into a string of not so romantic or funny romantic comedies. In the past 2 years he has been making a startling comeback with 3-4 highly acclaimed performances and he adds another one with “Mud”. With Medusa like hair, a chipped tooth, scraggly beard, tattoos and with a tan that is golden on his chiseled body you can see that bongo playing bad boy through the aging face. As the titled not quite so heroic lead on the run for killing a man and with that man’s father (Joe Don Baker), and bounty hunters tracking him down, Mud turns to his father-like figure Tom (Sam Shepard) and two 14 year old boys Ellis (Tye Sheridan) along with Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) for help. Tom warns the boys that Mud is nothing but a liar and all of his failures have been due to his love of Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) who he is now looking to hook up with again, run away and start a new life.

    With a strong supporting cast along with Baker and Shepard there are Ray McKinnon and Sarah Paulson as Ellis’s parents, Michael Shannon as Neckbone’s uncle and Bonnie Sturdivant as a possible girlfriend for Ellis, though she doesn’t see it, McConaughey holds his own and the audiences attention but this film revolves around the boys. They are coming of age and all that brings including seeing the so many different ways of love among adults.

    With all that this film is very disappointing for many reasons but the major one is that director and screenwriter Jeff Nichols tries to handle too many themes and in turn has a 2 hour and 10 minute film that would have been a lot better at one hour and 45 minutes. Though the relationship between McConaughey and Witherspoon is vital to the movie it is given short shrift and the latter very little screen time. Though good in their roles both Shannon’s and Shepard’s roles could have easily been eliminated as 2-3 other storylines really didn't add much but took away that important Mud and Juniper relationship.

    Definitely a nod of the head to cinematographer Adam Stone who makes the Arkansas sunsets, sunrises and rivers sparkle. The original music by David Wingo and the production designer Richards A. Wright brings you into and lets you know the world of the Arkansas Delta.

    “Mud” has fine performances by McConaughey, Sheridan, Lofland and the supporting cast but the length, slow pace and too many storylines work against it.
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  19. May 31, 2013
    8
    When I was a kid movies about super heroes or vampires or giant robots were kid stuff. Grown ups watched dramas where what got you interested and kept you interested were just good stories about interesting characters. These days there are very few of those available on the screen on any given day. Mud is one of them. Good but it could have been better if it had gone a little more FlanneryWhen I was a kid movies about super heroes or vampires or giant robots were kid stuff. Grown ups watched dramas where what got you interested and kept you interested were just good stories about interesting characters. These days there are very few of those available on the screen on any given day. Mud is one of them. Good but it could have been better if it had gone a little more Flannery O'Connor and a little less Disney at the end. The acting is superb. I'm referring to the screenplay. You just know at some point the story was stronger and then someone in a suit forced them to water it down. For those expecting lots of violence, but for one scene, you're not going to find that here. Expand
  20. May 2, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A very well made film, beautifully photographed, well written and with good performances... BUT it lost major points for me toward the end when one of the main characters literally falls into peril (involving snakes) and is rescued by "Mud". This really bugged me because (a) it seemed unnecessary to the plot and to the character development; and (b) it relies on ignorance of snake behavior (and depicts non-venomous snakes!) and a movie cliche' (oh no, he fell into a snake pit!) to create artificial drama. If it had just lost that one scene, I think I would have given the film a solid 8. I can accept a certain amount of dramatic license, but that scene insulted the intelligence of most viewers in my opinion and significantly mars an otherwise very good film. Expand
  21. Apr 29, 2013
    5
    Mud is a drama mumbo jumbo Starring- the one and only Matthew Mcaunnghey. Wow. You know I expected a good movie and it it is a good movie with lots of dumb issues, some people say- oh! Great Cannes film!!! But seriously its an okay movie nothing more. The film stars Tye Sheridian- I don't know who the actor is but still he puts in the effort of being a good child actor. The story is justMud is a drama mumbo jumbo Starring- the one and only Matthew Mcaunnghey. Wow. You know I expected a good movie and it it is a good movie with lots of dumb issues, some people say- oh! Great Cannes film!!! But seriously its an okay movie nothing more. The film stars Tye Sheridian- I don't know who the actor is but still he puts in the effort of being a good child actor. The story is just like a Coming of age spatty muddy tale mixed up with children and crime. And milk. Expand
  22. Dec 27, 2013
    1
    The most over rated movie of the year and quite possibly history. They finally figured out how to make McConaughey shine as an actor surround him with other horrific actors. He plays a homeless, starving vagrant. At one point, they mention his shirt and I thought, here it comes, he's going to take his damn shirt off (mandatory in all his movies). Of course, they contrive a way and heThe most over rated movie of the year and quite possibly history. They finally figured out how to make McConaughey shine as an actor surround him with other horrific actors. He plays a homeless, starving vagrant. At one point, they mention his shirt and I thought, here it comes, he's going to take his damn shirt off (mandatory in all his movies). Of course, they contrive a way and he takes his shirt off and he's all ripped he can't find food but manages to hit the gym 3 times a day. Absurd Expand
  23. Aug 16, 2014
    3
    . Mud was boring , really boring and I felt it got no where throughout it , McConaughey is great as are the kid actors but it was just boring it got nowhere it was just like watching this hobos life. Defiantly overrated.
  24. Jun 1, 2013
    9
    A wonderfully entertaining story and film. Kudos to MM for what is clearly his best performance. The movie is beautifully filmed, and one feels absorbed by the film (it "helped" that we arrived late and sat in the 3rd row!). Tye Sheridan is superb, perfectly portraying a young man, maturing too fast, yet endearingly naive. Jacob Lofeland also does a wonderful job, juxtaposed vs.A wonderfully entertaining story and film. Kudos to MM for what is clearly his best performance. The movie is beautifully filmed, and one feels absorbed by the film (it "helped" that we arrived late and sat in the 3rd row!). Tye Sheridan is superb, perfectly portraying a young man, maturing too fast, yet endearingly naive. Jacob Lofeland also does a wonderful job, juxtaposed vs. Sheridan, more boyish, clearly looking up to, and trusting Sheridan, almost with his life. Together, the boys made some outrageous decisions, trusting their as yet undeveloped instincts, to provide a lifeline to a disheveled Mud. The writing and dialogue are are incredibly honest and credible for small town Arkansas. The story itself is captivating and anyone who "zzzzzzzzz'd" their way through this film, was probably overtired. It's impossible to deign the ending til the very end. My wife also enjoyed this immensely. Thanks to Jeff Nichols for an exciting and entertaining evening. Expand
  25. May 14, 2013
    9
    This is the best film of the year so far. The acting and writing is great, and the movie feels authentic. I was never bored at the 2 hours and 5 minutes it took to watch it. It is kind of a modern day Huck Finn story, with two boys helping a fugitive to escape. The story mainly centers around Ellis, perfectly played by Tye Sheridan, who's world is changing with the impending divorce ofThis is the best film of the year so far. The acting and writing is great, and the movie feels authentic. I was never bored at the 2 hours and 5 minutes it took to watch it. It is kind of a modern day Huck Finn story, with two boys helping a fugitive to escape. The story mainly centers around Ellis, perfectly played by Tye Sheridan, who's world is changing with the impending divorce of his parents and his first crush on an older girl in town. They live on a river boat and his parents have loose reins on his upbringing, which I appreciated. He is free to live a very fun childhood with his best friend Neckbone, played excellently by Jacob Lofland. Matthew McConaughey is also good as the fugitive. If you like coming of age films like "Stand By Me", you will like this one. Expand
  26. Aug 22, 2013
    9
    I don't want to spoil anything that happens in this movie, but I will tell you that it is a fantastic story and a must watch. Matthew McConaughey delivers a fantastic performance, as does the rest of the cast. The best part about this movie is that it all feels realistic. Watching it all unfold can deliver on the edge of your seat moments, but the real prize comes from the little momentsI don't want to spoil anything that happens in this movie, but I will tell you that it is a fantastic story and a must watch. Matthew McConaughey delivers a fantastic performance, as does the rest of the cast. The best part about this movie is that it all feels realistic. Watching it all unfold can deliver on the edge of your seat moments, but the real prize comes from the little moments that help keep everything in place. These are the moments that the true potential of the actors comes forth for you to marvel at. Just the little things like the expression on a face go a long way to create the sense of realism in this movie of love and loss. Make no mistake, "Mud" is a fantastic movie and a must see. Expand
  27. Aug 27, 2013
    8
    Matthew McConaghay's previous foray into the lives of people in southern USA was the distressing and pointless Killer Joe. Mud takes a different track by presenting the characters lives as their choice and where they want to be. When Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) find a boat in the middle of a small island they discover Mud (McConaghay), a man waiting for his girlfriendMatthew McConaghay's previous foray into the lives of people in southern USA was the distressing and pointless Killer Joe. Mud takes a different track by presenting the characters lives as their choice and where they want to be. When Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) find a boat in the middle of a small island they discover Mud (McConaghay), a man waiting for his girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) who has promised to meet him. While structured like a pretty conventional revenge story, Mud is really a tale about sons and fathers and the women who control them. Directed by Jeff Nichols, Mud is a film about the beauty of a simple life and the kindness and humanity that comes with this kind of community. Mud is really the tale of Ellis, a smooth talking yet naive young boy who relates to Mud because of their complex relationships with their fathers. The film is filled with sharply written and well acted characters with McConaghay and Witherspoon being a terrific tragic pairing as the true reason for Mud's banishment becomes apparent, the two get better and better. Sheridan is a brilliant new find and brings out all of Ellis' growing pains wonderfully. The film rides on the relationship between Ellis and Mud and the two mesh well together as they form an almost brotherly bond. Ultimately its a beautifully performed and filmed picture that displays the beauty of living on the river and of living in a world of your own where the odd is strangely normal and people like Mud fortunately exist. Expand
  28. Oct 22, 2013
    9
    There's a gritty and realistic form of wisdom to take away from 'Mud', full of surprises, subtle brilliance and some engrossing performances. Mud feels art house, but it also hints towards mainstream elements, either way it throws some interesting characters into one big pot, each with their own problems and difficulties in life, age not being a factor. Although the title refers to theThere's a gritty and realistic form of wisdom to take away from 'Mud', full of surprises, subtle brilliance and some engrossing performances. Mud feels art house, but it also hints towards mainstream elements, either way it throws some interesting characters into one big pot, each with their own problems and difficulties in life, age not being a factor. Although the title refers to the character Matthew McConaughey portrays, there's also two young boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are two young boys who have a knack for going out in little adventures, one which brings them to a secluded island in the waters of Arkansas, where they live. On said island, they try to claim ownership of a stranded boat high in trees, but they soon realise that they aren't the only ones who know about the boat, Mud comes into their life with his unkempt hair, heavy southern accent and aspirations of meeting his one true love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), but when love is involved, it isn't usually savoury or happy trials ahead. Ellis in particular is young boy with all the problems in front of him, parents possibly getting divorced, learning about love and even heartbreak for the first time. The story of Ellis and Mud are mirrored in a deliberate and intriguing tale, they share similar experiences and the film seems to be showing what Mud's life was like as a younger person, perhaps showing the mistakes he made and how to steer Ellis away from making the same ones. This is the sort of film where many will judge the character of Mud, to many he will still be a murderer on the run, no matter his excuses, but to others he will be the man looking out for his girl, even if she doesn't show the same gratitude. The height of brilliance in the storytelling from writer and director Jeff Nichols strong and inspirational throughout the film, he paints a sort of prophet in Mud who isn't necessarily delusional, but more like someone who has hit rock bottom already and doesn't really know where else to go but up.
    The most catching part of the film is its originality, no adaptions or anything of the sort, films these days to be literal in the sense of having a book to centre a story around, but this one, these characters are equally as significant as any black and white one, Ellis and Neckbone are smart kids, but they buy into Mud and his smooth talking plans too easily, each person who has known Mud before the two boys has had little redeeming things to say about him, but Ellis continues to return to him and help him, regardless of the consequences. My only gripe with an otherwise impeccable film is an ending that doesn't quite fit, a shootout that offers no real conclusive finish, only an opportunity for some wounds to heal.
    But other than that, Mud is easily the most touching of films that is completely original, it's forthright in its approach to how we perceive human beings who have perhaps gone off track a little, but also how the most unlikely of people can put them back on the right path, McConaughey at his finest with a very convincing performance from Sheridan, it's wisdom at its toughest and brilliance in its own artful way.
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  29. Sep 2, 2014
    7
    I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more of newcomer Tye Sheridan, but it is our titular role from McConaughey that will set this film apart. I sincerely hope Jeff Nichols keeps on delivering emotional powerhouse films.
  30. Jul 27, 2013
    7
    Mud is a well directed and well acted film with its two star young roles playing the key to its success. It's a quiet but efficient coming of age tale that may not hit you hard with emotion but gives you a story and characters to care about.
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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    May 5, 2013
    80
    A bold, intelligent, 21st century take on Mark Twain — with added occult tendencies.