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Director: Jeff Nichols

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland


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A pair of inquisitive adolescents encounter a charismatic drifter with an incredible story in this drama from Take Shelter writer/director Jeff Nichols. Mississippi adolescents Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are exploring


A pair of inquisitive adolescents encounter a charismatic drifter with an incredible story in this drama from Take Shelter writer/director Jeff Nichols. Mississippi adolescents Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are exploring along the mighty Mississippi when they stumble upon a small island inhabited by Mud (Matthew McConaughey), a desperado who claims to be on the run from brutal bounty hunters after killing a man in Texas. According to Mud, his true love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) is awaiting his arrival in town, and together they plan to make a daring escape. Fascinated, the two boys agree to help Mud slip past his pursuers, despite the potential dangers of doing so. Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, and Michael Shannon co-star.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
There's a rhythm to the characters' lives in Jeff Nichols' coming-of-age tale Mud that makes the whole project feel something like Mark Twain's take on Stand by Me. The movie opens with 14-year-old best friends Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) taking a canoe with an outboard motor down the Mississippi to a small island in order to check out a bigger boat that they've heard is stuck up in the trees. They not only find the oddly marooned boat, but also stumble across a homeless man living on the island. He introduces himself as Mud (Matthew McConaughey), quickly wins a small level of trust from the two boys (not to mention their total fascination), and asks them to bring him some food. Ellis does return with supplies, and eventually gets Mud to tell him why he's hiding on the island. He says that he's waiting for the love of his life, a woman named Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) for whom Mud has done some very terrible things. It turns out that Ellis is quite the capital-R Romantic for a young teen -- he believes in true love and doing anything to help those in the throes of it. This leads him to risk his life to help Mud, an adventure that will eventually involve an older girl he has a crush on, an elderly next-door neighbor (Sam Shepard) who might have been a government assassin, and a wealthy, ruthless family bent on revenge. Nichols' script for Mud has rich thematic layers that crop up in scene after scene. He continuously shows how Ellis, who yearns to live according to Mud's down-to-earth yet undeniably chivalrous code, adapts when he learns some of the harder truths in life. Subplots involving the dissolving marriage of Ellis' parents, Neckbone's uncle's tips on how to treat women, and Ellis' burgeoning love life don't distract from the main throughline; they embroider our understanding of this complex kid. As Ellis, Sheridan, in only his second movie, delivers an engaging and natural performance that's matched by Lofland -- who plays Neckbone as a born skeptic about everything except his devotion to his best friend. As a result, the duo have a rapport that's instantly believable. McConaughey continues his remarkable career rebirth with his work as the title character. His natural charisma and charm come through, making it easy to see why Ellis and Neckbone would quickly be drawn into helping him. Set in Arkansas, Mud captures the rhythm of the South in a way few films do. Conversations have a slow drawl to them, and those speech patterns bleed through to the editing. That may frustrate impatient viewers, especially those who are responding intensely to the more thriller-like aspects of the story, but it's a purposeful creative choice by Nichols, who has full confidence in his script and his actors. He knows his story isn't about life or death, but this particular boy's coming-of-age in this particular place. Following his expert psychological thriller Take Shelter -- a movie that dealt thematically with how society's safety nets are collapsing around us by providing a bone-deep character study of a regular guy suffering from schizophrenia -- Mud proves that Nichols, at age 34, is one of the most versatile and talented young filmmakers of his generation, an artist capable of crafting intelligent, nuanced scripts and then finding the right performers to bring his vision to life.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

A very personal tale; Writing and Directing Mud; The Arkansas Ensemble ; The distinctive characters and cast of Mud; Southern authenticity; Shooting the real Arkansas; The Snake Pit; The slithering costars of Mud; Director Commentary

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Matthew McConaughey Mud
Tye Sheridan Ellis
Jacob Lofland Neckbone
Reese Witherspoon Juniper
Sarah Paulson Mary Lee
Ray McKinnon Senior
Sam Shepard Tom Blakenship
Michael Shannon Galen
Paul Sparks Carver
Joe Don Baker King
Johnny Cheek Kyle
Bonnie Sturdivant May Pearl
Stuart Greer Miller
Clayton Carson Pryor

Technical Credits
Jeff Nichols Director,Screenwriter
Ethan Andrus Sound Mixer
Glen Basner Executive Producer
Everett Byrom Special Effects Supervisor
David Wingo Score Composer
Lisa Maria Falcone Producer
Elliott Glick Art Director
Sarah Green Producer
Tom Heller Executive Producer
Julie Monroe Editor
Kari Perkins Costumes/Costume Designer
Matthew Petrosky Camera Operator
Morgan Pollitt Associate Producer
Aaron Ryder Producer
Gareth Smith Executive Producer
Adam Stone Cinematographer
Richard A. Wright Production Designer


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