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Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Poignant coming-of-age tale has some edgy content.

Movie PG-13 2013 130 minutes
Mud Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 12+

Gritty and heart-warming

We really enjoyed this gritty tale. It portrays authentic relationships, with all their imperfections, with a lot of warmth and humour. The plot cleverly allows the viewer to see Mud both through the eyes of 14-year old Ellis as well as with a greater measure of objectivity. The boys are a convincing blend of jaded and innocent, trusting and streetwise. Ellis responds to situations wanting to do the right thing, and his idealism and steadfast belief that love conquers all is tested as the plot winds its way to a predictable, yet heart-warming ending. There is some crude language, mild suspense, fist fighting, a shoot out and some references to sex including some irritating objectification of women. A previous review suggests that the lack of good role models in this film might be problematic. I disagree; I found it a great starting point for conversations about how people are rarely all good or all bad, and that what defines us is sometimes how we step up to meet challenges, or sit with dilemmas. In the case of Mud the character, it is also a good portrayal of a charismatic instigator, embodying a number of complex paradoxes (a resourceful survivalist vs. incapable of self-care, laid back vs. pathologically intense, loving vs. violent), and how our perceptions of a person can be clouded by what we want to believe about them, as opposed to what may be quite obvious to others. If I were to issue any warnings, it would be to anyone who may find male aggression in relationships a trigger: there are two scenes where Ellis' dad is overbearing and aggressive toward Ellis and his wife, one scene where a female character is assaulted (hit) by an intruder and the unnerving intensity with which Mud experiences his attachment to "the love of his life", foreshadowing a possible 'star-crossed' lovers ending.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 16+

Not for under 16

I did not think this movie was a good choice for my 13 year old boy. It portraits woman badly, as not worth a mans trust, and likely to lead them on. The language and smoke was disturbing. I think it was more for children over 16.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (6 ):

MUD is the sort of movie that stays with you long after the credits roll. Writer-director Jeff Nichols -- himself an Arkansas native -- has established himself as an actor's director with this independent drama that's so impressive you'll find yourself quoting the best parts to other people. Clearly Nichols has a soft spot for his home state, because he depicts it -- the poverty, the Piggly Wiggly, the rough-knuckled residents -- with tender, loving care. Even the perilous snakes swimming in the river are given both a symbolic and literal importance in the story. And what a simultaneously unique and age-old story it is: boys learning about what it means to be a man from a man who's both wise and dangerous.

The joy of watching Mud is threefold: the lush cinematography, the fabulous script, and the poignant portrayals from not only McConaughey, who delivers a career-best performance, but also the boys and the supporting cast. Sheridan's Ellis, the heart of the story, is a true Romantic who falls under Mud's spell because he yearns to believe that men will do anything to protect their love -- unlike his father (Ray McKinnon), who has apparently "given up" on his mother (Sarah Paulson). Lofland's Neckbone, on the other hand, is the movie's comic relief and voice of reason. The always amazing Sam Shepard has a pivotal role as a retired Marine sharpshooter who knew Mud as a boy, and Witherspoon pulls off a much tougher, sadder character than she usually plays. A touching story with terrific acting, Mud is everything that's good about independent films.

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