Mud (2013) *****

Mud is as American as a movie can be. No, I’m not saying there are Bald Eagles soaring majestically in the Sun. Nor are there fireworks and chants of “U.S.A” in the background. Mud captures the American sense of adventure and discovery upon which our nation was founded. If I had to compare Mud to a novel, that novel would be Tom Sawyer, by the incredible Mark Twain.

Mud tells the story of a man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey), who is stuck on an Island waiting for his girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) to come meet him. He’s running away from the law and is running low on supplies, until the day that Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) show up on the Island. The two teenage boys came in search of a boat that managed to get stuck in a tree. Upon finding it and claiming it as theirs, they discover that someone has been living in it. That’s when they meet Mud and when Ellis’ curiosity begins to kick in. Mud talks about needing food and supplies and Ellis offers to bring him some, even against Neckbone’s “better” judgement. After bringing Mud food and supplies time and time again, he recounts stories to the boys and their sense of wonder makes them like Mud even more. Especially the part where he talks about his beautiful girlfriend, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon).

Mud and Juniper were/are lovers who are now separated due to Mud’s being on the run from the law. Of course, he doesn’t tell the boys that part. Instead, he recruits the boys to find Jupiter and deliver messages for him, so that he can one day see her again. When the boys do find her, she’s being beaten senseless and is being repeatedly asked where Mud is. This man was not of the law, but of something much worse. As mysteries become unraveled and plans begin being made, Mud becomes one of the years finest and most entertainingly real films of 2013.

The American spirit is alive in Mud. This tale of danger, excitement, love and adventure is one that will really stick out to you when you ponder the movies that you’ve seen this year. McConaughey captures us with that slick, Southern accent and tells a fantastic story in what I would say is his best performance to date. The supporting cast is without a weak link and the film rarely suffers from dull moments. This is a phenomenal film that should be seen by everyone. If  I haven’t yet convinced you, or you haven’t read the amazing novel Tom Sawyer, I’d keep reading below for my Top Ten Thoughts on Mud!

Matthew McConaughey is going all serious this year in Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club. I'm liking this serious side to him!

Matthew McConaughey is going all serious this year in Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club. I’m liking this serious side to him!

What I Enjoyed

What I Also Enjoyed

Matthew McConaughey delivers one of his finest performances!

Reese Witherspoon also delivers one of her best performances!

This story unfolds like a well written novel.

The secret past that Mud is withholding will make you curious and in-turn, get you more invested in the film.

The sense of adventure the kids experience in this film reminds you of your own adventures in your life.

The importance of the river to Ellis is something we all can relate to, in terms of something we all cherish.

Ellis is a curious kid that represents our childish sense of curiosity well.

There’s quite a bit of action in this film which is incorporated well and works well too.

Neckbone plays the reluctant type that we all know. Sometimes are friends need a little push to get them going.

When examined thoroughly, Mud’s relationship with Juniper is one that is seen far too often these days, but it does add many great layers to this film.

The sweeping shots of Arkansas and the Mississippi river are beautiful!

Those Southern accents sound fantastic. The cast all sound like true Southerners and it’s awesome!

Mud’s tales and stories are intriguing and help familiarize you

Despite being a little bit longer than 2 hours, this film seems to go by fairly quickly.

Michael Shannon is in this film and, despite his short on-screen time, he’s awesome.

This drama doesn’t have to rely on being sappy to get you to enjoy it. The charm and joy comes from Mud and Ellis’ relationship.

The relationship formed by Mud with the two boys is one of friendship and family.

The film reminded me a lot of Tom Sawyer. It plays like some exotic tale that you may read in school.

Outstanding performances from the cast, along with a great story, make Mud one of the year’s best films!

The sense of wonder and grand storytelling in this film is enough to capture anyone’s attention and take them on an incredible journey!


Mud provides us with one of the year’s best movies and performances. McConaughey commands the screen and tells us a wonderful story. We make connections with Ellis and Neckbone, as we too were once young and curious kids. The Tom Sawyer-esque sense of Southern adventure shines through in this fantastic story and plays out like a novel that Twain himself may have written. This is another one of 2013’s films that I would highly recommend you watch sooner, rather than later!

Mud Trailer

5 STARS!!!

5 / 5 stars     

3 thoughts on “Mud (2013) *****

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Films of 2013... So Far | Nick Tiffany's Movie Reviews

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