Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 169 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Apr 26, 2013
    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: William Goss
    Feb 26, 2013
    That Nichols is able to orchestrate this entire journey with steady tension and lyrical imagery is a testament to his storytelling capabilities.
  3. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Apr 25, 2013
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Apr 24, 2013
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Apr 25, 2013
    Endearing and believable, the two actors playing Ellis and Neckbone are pitch-perfect.
  6. 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.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Apr 25, 2013
    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.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 47
  2. Negative: 3 out of 47
  1. Jul 26, 2013
    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. Expand
  2. Aug 13, 2013
    "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.
  3. Oct 22, 2013
    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 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.
  4. Jun 4, 2013
    Mud is a well directed, well acted film that helps to show that love isn't easy. The kids are the standout performances here along with Matthew McConaughey's Mud. Collapse
  5. May 28, 2013
    “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
  6. Jan 6, 2014
    Jimmy Spoiler-free reviews 2013 things:

    Mud, not the mud on your feet but Mud The Movie, is more or less a 2013 film despite sources
    such as imdb listing it as a 2012 film. It only saw 2 premieres in 2012 at French film festivals (notably Cannes).

    It's an interesting tale of two fourteen year old southern boys named Ellis and 'Neckbone' who are exploring the Mississippi when they encounter Mud. This man, with the odd name of Mud, is mysterious and seemingly-wise, and the tale revolves around their relationship with him and his aspirations to reunite with his love interest. It isn't one of those movies that makes you feel bad. It reminds you of being a kid really. I'd almost call it an adult movie with the lighthearted feel and pacing of a kid's movie. And it's really American. I can't imagine anyone not familiar with America or southerners understanding this movie.

    People Who would like Mud:
    -People who like feel-good movies that don't suck
    -Those interested in southern or American culture
    -Fans of lighthearted movies
    -Fans of Matthew McConaughey
    -People interested in so-called 'modern American classics'
    -Oh yeah, Reese Witherspoon's in it if that's a bonus
    -People who like coming of age stories
    -Fans of movies with young protagonists
    -People who like movies featuring rivers

    People who would not like this:
    -Unamerican Communists
    -People who absolutely hate anything that resembles a 'feel-good' movie
    -People not that dislike southern american english
    -Those that somehow have a problem with Matthew McConaughey
    -People who hate young teens, especially southern ones

    I can imagine certain people not liking Mud, but I enjoyed it a lot.

    8/10 for Mud
  7. Dec 27, 2013
    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 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

See all 47 User Reviews