In a recent post, I talked about how there are movies that we love from our childhood that were probably not meant for children. Yet somehow we saw them, and some part of that film clicked with us, and we ended up watching it again and again. I’m thinking of films like Stand By Me or Say Anything – stories that managed to touch upon some part of us that made an impression and now, as adults, we go back to them and appreciate them on a whole different level.
That is the kind of movie “Mud” is going to be.
Yes, the posters show a scruffy Matthew McConaugheym as the titular character Mud, looking dirty, reaching for the pistol in his back pocket. But this is pretty misleading because Mud is not who this movie is about. It is about a 14-year old boy named Ellis and his coming-of-age story. It is at once a very simple film and a very complex movie. At it’s very core, it is a movie about love – from the love of a parent to your best childhood friend; from the first love of a teenager to the unrequited love of adults. It’s about knowing when to hold on and when to let go.
Ellis lives in Arkansas on a house that is more of a mobile home, except for the part where it’s floating on the river. His best friend, “Neckbone” and him like to go off and explore the river. They discover what they think is an abandoned island with a forgotten boat stuck up in a tree. But instead of finding an awesome treehouse, they find the mysterious Mud.
I don’t want to say anymore. I loved watching this movie, not knowing exactly what it was. But it is worth it.
I know not many people saw the movie in the theater. It was a hard film to advertise. But I feel like there is a group of 14 year old out there right now, stumbling upon this movie in Redbox, and they are going to have that moment where they identify so much with Ellis and his growing pains, even though they don’t quite get it yet. Even if the adult relationships in the movie don’t quite make sense.
And if you’re an adult getting ready to watch this movie, you will not be disappointed. But be ready for the emotions as you begin to remember that time in your youth, when you thought love was so simple and easily defined…and then the day when you understood that love and life were far too complex to ever be understood.