While I am writing my “review”, I am also listening to the soundtrack which I found really really good.
So Mud, right ? Not really what I expected. Being familiar with Southern movies and stories, I thought Mud to be from the same bag. No, you’ll have to excuse me, I do that sometimes : assumptions. I went to the movies, thinking that I would be watching another Southern movie centred on nature, angst, rednecks and white trash characters. You know this kind of movie. Like Delivrance by John Boorman. Honestly the only thing I loved about this movie was the famous Banjo scene. But it did introduce me to the genre. Men losing civilized manners while facing the dangeres of nature and its perversion. Well, Nature in Mud isn’t a threat, it is a shelter, a place where Mud ( Matthew McConaughey ) found a place to hide and wait. Where Ellis ( Ty Sheridan ) – who made me think of Tom Sawyer – escape from his reality because he doesn’t get it. Why did Delivrance come to my mind ? The river. Here again, no threats from the Mississippi River, it is calm and peaceful [ If you watched Delivrance, you get why the comparison ].
Another difference perhaps with Delivrance : Men are about to destroy nature and the river but here nature is what brings food to the table, the kid doesn’t want to get to town, a sort of romantic view of nature, being poor isn’t so bad either, nature is home.
I absolutely loved Mud ! A strong and fragile character at the same time. Able to hide on an isle in the middle of the Mississippi and to wait for his love one. Alright, he is a bit delusional, I mean, one look at his lady is enough to understand that yes, she loves him but no she isn’t strong enough or willing enough to make it work.
Which leads us to the question and theme of Love. I never expected this to be the major theme in the movie. I thought maybe the dealing with the Past theme that most movies and stories of the genre usually meet would be the one but Love is in my opinion. The way people see love : with young and candid eyes like Ellis. With passion and violence, with duty and honor like Mud. With family. But it is what guides the characters. Love and friendship which can be seen as similar because the kid finally end up loving Mud and trusting him. The movie was pretty realistic. Even the evil character isn’t that evil. Mud is determined to find the woman he loves, Ellis wants May Pearl to be his girlfriend and his parents to stay together.
Talking about realism, TY SHERIDAN’S ACTING WAS BEAUTIFUL. This is what I enjoyed the most. His acting. I couldn’t not fall in love with his character.
So no, I wouldn’t call it just a Southern movie even though love can be part of every genre.
Directed and written by Jeff Nichols