Indie & Foreign
Mud (2012)

Writer/director Jeff Nichols shows us once more how good he is at crafting compelling characters and unique settings. I did not enjoy the movie as much as his previous effort, "Take Shelter," but it's still a lively spin on the coming of age formula. As for Matthew McConaughey, he's so great at playing against type lately, it's rapidly becoming his new type.


Even love has a little dirt under its fingernails.

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Looks like we’re going to experience this story through the eyes of two rowdy boys looking for trouble. It brings back childhood memories of great Spielberg-produced flicks where adventure was found at every corner. This is going to be a lot of fun.

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This movie already felt dirty, but it reaches new heights as Mud (Matthew McConaughey) enters the picture. His name is meant to be taken literally. The way he spits everywhere and eats red beans straight from the can will make you want to keep a bottle of Purell within arm’s reach.

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“A lot of girls are comfortable with that kind of stuff in the bedroom.”
–Galen (Michael Shannon), as he’s trying to convince his conquest to come back for more of that funky love.

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Tom (Sam Shepard) hops onto the weird character bandwagon with his buttoned-up jeans shirt and dorky hair. He represents some sort of father figure for Mud, which instantly explains many of his gross habits.

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In a few consecutive scenes, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) willfully resists everyone’s attempt at devaluating the meaning of love. The little guy is dead set on fixing every relationship around him, from his parents’ conflicted marriage to Mud and Juniper’s (Reese Witherspoon) rocky situation. It might sound like a corny theme to tackle in writing, but that sweet blend of hopefulness and innocence is exactly what makes the movie work.

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I have seen my share of coming of age stories in the past few years and I can say that not many of them ended in a full-on shootout between its main characters. Tom even snipes away Mud’s attackers for some sparse living room cheers.

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The final moments give us reason to think that Ellis’s blind trust in love is intact, even after he failed miserably at all his Cupid attempts. You have to celebrate this movie for protecting its main character with a thick coat of earnestness.

1 Comment on Mud (2012)

  1. I watched this last night, mainly on the strength of your recommendation in this review. And boy, you were spot on. This movie was amazing! I’m surprised I never heard about it elsewhere. I used to be quite indifferent to Matthew McConaughey, but between this, True Detective, and Dallas Buyers Club, I think I’m in love.

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