Direct by Jeff Nichols, and starring actor Mathew McConaughey and actress Reese Witherspoon, Mud (DVD) is a matchless coming-of-age movie. McConaughey portrays a man whose only sobriquet happens to be the title of this movie, Mud. Witherspoon depicts his rather wanton and frivolous sometimes-girlfriend, Juniper. Rounding out the adult cast members is the inimitable Sam Shepard to add drops of gravitas to the film. The younglings are, respectively, Tye Sheridan as Ellis, and Jacob Lofland as Neckbone. What viewers need to know most of all about this movie, Mud (DVD), is that it is both unpredictable and thoroughly enjoyable.
Ellis and Neckbone are the bestest of friends and they crave adventure as all curious adolescents do. One day, while visiting the treasured remnants of a prior storm, they discover more than a boat in a tree, they find a renegade to go along with it. Ellis is at that age where his parents are divorcing and yet he relishes the concept and possibility of love and romance as only an un-jaded young person can. He idealizes romance and it causes him to worship Mud. Neckbone is simply following the path to adventure and he craves the spoils of war. Mud is on the run from the law, but naturally, he deceives and misleads the boys throughout the entire story. All that Ellis cares about is Mud's ostensibly undying love for Juniper. So enamored with love is the boy that he overlooks all of the flaws and crimes that he finds out Mud embodies and has committed. The boys become roped into Mud's plan to reunite with Juniper and in doing so they commit to rebuilding the boat lodged in the tree. Despite all of the intricacies of the plot and the unfolding drama presented by Director Nichols, the movie is really about the innocence of youth and how and when it is broken as one enters adulthood.
Really, the movie Mud (DVD) is a tale of breaking through to pre-adulthood and the abandonment of boyhood. Mud is about a pivotal moment in two young peoples' lives and their mutations occur because of the stimulus provided by divorce, envy, romance, and the idolization of friendship whether real or imagined. McConaughey is very endearing and he maintains an edge of detached mystery that carries the film forward. The boys are fine actors for their age. Witherspoon's role is rather limited as it involves acting coquettishly and looking sleazy. Overall, Mud (DVD) is a movie for all audiences as it is about love and boy's vision of the perfection of adulthood that does not really exist. All mirages are about to evaporate for the boys, but is that really a bad thing? Life has to be lived on life's terms after all. Mud is a terribly fascinating cinematic work.
Watch the official trailer for Mud here.