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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 209 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: 46 out of 53
  2. Negative: 4 out of 53
  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. Collapse
  2. Aug 22, 2013
    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 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
  3. Jun 6, 2013
    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
  4. May 31, 2013
    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 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
  5. Aug 10, 2013
    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! 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 53 User Reviews