Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


MUD (review)

Review by Caitlyn Thompson
Produced by Lisa Maria Falcone, 
Sarah Green, Aaron Ryder 
Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols 
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, 
Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson, 
Sam Shepard, Joe Don Baker
Lionsgate / Rated PG-13

Mud is the story of two Arkansas boys who discover a fugitive and decide to help him escape with the woman he loves. The coming-of-age film deals with brotherhood, loyalty, and the ultimate bond between men when women break them. Loss of innocence and gritted morality are portrayed authentically against the rough impoverished backdrop of the movie.

Mud is tactile, heartwarming, funny and honest – a good movie start to finish.

The young stars of Mud are Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland as Ellis and Neckbone.

They are a fantastically complimentary duo as one is sensitive, capable, and loyal, while the other is simultaneously wise beyond his years, sex-curious, and savvy. Discovering the fugitive, Mud, ignites, specifically Ellis’, journey of grappling with maturity and the worth of love and commitment.

The boy idolizes this convict who has glorified his own clearly complicated relationship (with Juniper played sorrowfully by Reese Witherspoon) and believes he can be the key to reunite them.

The fantasy naively resonates as he begins his own first romantic relationship in the midst of his parents’ inevitable divorce. Even as his assumptions about romance fade the character is respectful and genuinely good-hearted – he seems to be the only one in the film who hasn’t yet been jaded by the harsh complications of love and life.

Matthew McConaughey, as the title character, Mud, is absolutely solid. While his character charismatically spouts off tales of love, honor, and superstition he is not the egotistical ladies’ man spewing off one-liners I’m accustomed to seeing the actor portray. His rugged teeth and ragged manner are lovable and his naïve dreams of love are complimented beautifully by his impulsive and heroic rage. Mud is righteous and we never fear him. He is a gentle mentor to a young boy whose belief is love is foundering.

Subtly contrasting the two major characters are several minor ones that are well worth praising. Jacob Lofland is tremendous as the blunt and hilarious best friend, Neckbone, always on the lookout for his more sensitive companion. His lines and reactions are appropriately cynical and perfect as he bargains and hesitates with rational and fierce capability. He knows about the hardship of life without consistent love of any kind as implicitly shown through his lack of parents.

Yet he is sensitive and faithful to Ellis, especially while witnessing him face the harsh reality of the nonexistence or at least rarity of happily-ever-afters. Neckbone is a funny horndog whose maturity really shines through in his ever-skeptical tone and jaded demeanor. Michael Shannon plays Galen, uncle to the orphaned Neckbone. His love life centers around getting laid and moving on.

Amongst the men of the film is Reese Witherspoon who is sad, beaten and tired. Her reactions are palpable and her presence never dominates. The film isn’t quite about the relationships between men and women but the ultimate heartbreaking effects that reside in men and how they cope. Brotherhood is strong, even in the bad guys.

The impoverished riverlands community is displayed gorgeously in Mud. Constantly shown at dusk and dawn, the setting is admirable and its respect is commanded (while lovingly emphasized) by the devoted families whose livelihoods depend on it.

The soundtrack of the film was fantastic. From the lulling finger-style guitar as folks drive along roads and ride up river, to adventurous folksy rhythms while mischief ensues, the music really compliments the tone of the film. Also, the lack of music sometimes really forces the viewer to concentrate on the dialogue, however simple, and gives the mood an authenticity that may have been compromised if imposed upon by the wrong tune. 

Mud presents love in an unconventional manner, where the women are the heartbreaking saboteurs. Ellis just wants to believe in the power of love as he lives in complete admiration of his father and Mud, yet these two strong men are visibly ripped apart emotionally by the love of their lives. It’s a sad concept to embrace, that love does not conquer all, but loyalty and friendship are the saviors.

Mud is great. Jeff Nichols has created a fantastic gem.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Forces of Geek is protected from liability under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and “Safe Harbor” provisions.

All posts are submitted by volunteer contributors who have agreed to our Code of Conduct.

FOG! will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement.

Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content.


In many cases free copies of media and merchandise were provided in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The opinions shared on Forces of Geek are those of the individual author.

You May Also Like


“Better luck next time…” The road of life can be twisty and treacherous, but if you are unfortunate enough to take a wrong turn...


Films may become iconic for various reasons – their aesthetic, score, performances, narrative elements and structure, filmmaking ingenuity, or how certain events surrounding the...


Winner of the prestigious Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival (1976) and nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture (1976), TAXI DRIVER...


An unfortunate movie trope gets the Men in Black treatment in The American Society of Magical Negroes, as a young Black man is recruited...