I am a fervent fan of Jeff Nichols‘ work, and after loving Take Shelter, I couldn’t be more excited when I heard about his new film. A modern fairytale happening near the Mississippi River, where the Nature is queen.
The relationship Jeff Nichols has with the various elements of nature and how he films them, and add his characters to the environment created, is fascinating, and takes away the spectators. When I watched Mud, I wanted to live there, even the most towny person ever, might be able to consider living in Arkansas. And this phenomenon is explained; despite the rural aspect and this concept of “living with what you have”, this is a ticket for your mind to escape from routine and problems.
Nonetheless, the photography is perfect, but the story is a truly well mastered fairytale; a beautiful illustrated tale.
We are being introduced to Ellis (the edible Tye Sheridan), who happened to be in full transition, and discovering the secrets of a love relationship. Indeed, at home he sees his parents being torn apart, and at this specific moment, he encounters Mud (outstandingly performed by McCaunaughey) on an island, while he was sailing with his friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), and trying to find a boat in the trees in order to make it their secret HQ. Mud, is a men who killed for love, and who exiled himself into this island, being provided with food by a friend of him. When he told his story to Ellis, this one did all he could to make the two lovers meet up again, as Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) was in town to see him, after years of turbulent love. And he’s finally taking example on Mud, and not on his parents which relationship appears as defective.
So, there’s this girl, older than him, for who he didn’t hesitate to punch a bigger guy in the face, when this last one was annoying her. Love brings courage, and love is about, doing all you can to defend and maintain your relationship. At least, this is what we are understanding in the beginning, and this is something we want to believe in. That’s the fairytale we want to see, when love conquers all, but also need some sweat and blood.
But Mud isn’t about this, Mud is about knowing how and when letting go. Some relationships, no matter how their were great, and brought happiness at some point, are just harmful and too painful. And we are not only talking about love relationships but all kind. Ellis and Mud, maintained one that permitted them to learn things, and to shared moving moments, but, at the end, it wasn’t a healthy or recommended friendship. And Ellis will have to keep the most inspiring and lovable things experienced during their time together, and learn how to let go when it’s time.
What I loved the most, and this is just because, I’m still a little girl, is that, Mud also learned from Ellis, and putted his life in danger for him. He was a symbolic son, but also, some sort of reflection of him. That is to say, Mud, was being the dad, himself never had and wished he had.
But this elements of fairytales, friendships and love, were set on to a revenge background. The men Mud killed, had very spiteful father and brother. And during a long part of the film, we are holding our breath. The original and very very exciting thing about this movie, is that we have suspense, vengeance, love, nature and kids. Elements that I didn’t see anywhere for a while.
The characters are very attaching, the story is moving, the actors are well playing their roles, and are spreading emotions with some kind of innocence and clumsily.