Glorious vision of youth and truth, love and loss, your name is Mud.
An evocative highlight of the American movie year so far.
| Original Score: 4/4
Sadly, Nichols, who made the superb Take Shelter, gets mired in mood this time around. But there's still an evocative sense of childhood exploration, and a gritty performance by Matthew McConaughey.
| Original Score: 2/5
For at least three-quarters of the way, this is a fine film, and one that kids and parents could see together.
There is an enchanted-fairy-tale aspect to Mud, but its bright, calm surface only barely disguises a strong, churning undercurrent.
| Original Score: 3/4
A modern fairy tale, steeped in the sleepy Mississippi lore of Twain and similar American writers, and with a heart as big as the river is wide.
Nichols has a strong feeling for the tactility of natural elements-water, wood, terrain, weather.
Nichols takes his time with the story, dwelling on how the boy is shaped by the killer's tragic sense of romance, yet the suspense holds.
"Mud" isn't just a movie. It's the firm confirmation of a career.
"Mud" unfolds at its own pace, revealing its story in slivers. The performances are outstanding, especially from Sheridan, who plays tough, sweet, vulnerable and confused with equal conviction.
| Original Score: A-
The film is drenched in the humidity and salty air of a Delta summer, often recalling the musical, aphoristic cadences of Sam Shepard, who happens to appear in a supporting role.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
A wonderful, piquant modern-day variation on "Huckleberry Finn.''
One of the most creatively rich and emotionally rewarding movies to come along this year.
| Original Score: 4/5
It's a movie that holds out hope for the movies' future.
Mr. Nichols's voice is a distinctive and welcome presence in American film.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Nichols' wild narrative tributaries all eventually intersect, and at no time does he let one's attention stall.
What you do need to know is that the acting is top-tier all the way. McConaughey, on a career roll, is magnificent.
Nichols lovingly sketches his characters and their world; he takes his time doing so, but it's a pleasure to watch the small interactions and the humid reality of secret coves and Piggly Wiggly supermarkets and seedy hotels.
Writer/director Jeff Nichols creates richly realized characters in a tale that moves like a cottonmouth viper, advancing slowly until it strikes with sudden violence.
With "Mud," Jeff Nichols announces his intention to do it all. He just may yet.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Mud is steeped in a sense of place, and the people inhabiting it. Southern. Superstitious. Suspenseful. Sublime.
Mud is a lyrical coming-of-age tale that feels like a Mark Twain story in a contemporary setting.
McConaughey brings to the film a heartfelt and beautifully realized angst. And Witherspoon is excellent as a woman who can't help being who she is, regardless of any pain that may cause.
Once writer and director Jeff Nichols' film about love, lies and loss gets going, it never really stops.
[Nichols] has a rare ability to root his archetypal Southern fables in rich observational detail. They remain tangibly specific but take on the larger resonances of folklore.
The film's guilelessness in stoking classic themes, folklore and paradigms in American culture would be absurdly self-conscious if Nichols didn't have such an original voice as a storyteller.
You come away from Mud fondly remembering those two boys, especially Ellis, who has taken his first steps toward adulthood and discovers it suits him just fine.
There's something old-fashioned about Mud, but if you allow yourself to settle into its leisurely pace, it will reward you.
| Original Score: B+
A modern-day homage to the settings and characters popularized in some of Twain's best loved works.
McConaughey, of course, is excellent.
It's hard to believe Nichols thinks he can get away with all this and harder still to believe he does.
The story of a sympathetic fugitive who forges a bond with two teenage boys near a mighty river down south, Mud is shot through with traditional qualities of American literature and drama.
The most immediately involving film that I've seen in a good long while.
There's an argument to be made that there's a calculated degree of cliché to this sweet, Southern-fried fairytale, that Nichols is paying tribute here to his more mainstream inspirations.
| Original Score: 3/5
What sounds like Huckleberry Finn on the page, however, ends up like a stock melodrama onscreen.
Confidently expanding his inquiry into the essence of American masculinity, Nichols' latest pressure-cooker pastoral conjures a wily figure of endangered Southern chivalry.