Mud Information

Mud is a 2012 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Sam Shepard, and Reese Witherspoon. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013, and had a limited release in select theaters on April 26, 2013.


Two teenage boys in Arkansas, Ellis and Neckbone, travel to a small island in the Mississippi River where Neckbone found a boat stuck high in a tree, likely from a flood. They intend to make it their own. They realize someone is living in it and meet Mud " a fugitive who grew up in the area. He wants to reunite with his old girlfriend Juniper and then skip town. Mud explains he killed a man who had impregnated Juniper and then pushed her down a flight of stairs, causing her to lose the child. The boys decide to lend Mud a helping hand, working to free the boat and get it working again, in exchange for Mud's .45 pistol. Mud also tells them about Juniper, whom he claims to love. He describes her as having a nightingale tattoo on her hand, and Neck and Ellis spot her at the local Piggly Wiggly. When they follow her, they interrupt abuse of her by another man. Ellis charges the man and shoves him off Juniper, but is punched and gets a black eye. Juniper thanks Ellis for saving her.

The police are searching for Mud, but the boys don't give away his hiding place. Notified by his surviving son that Mud is in the area, King Carver, the vengeful father of Mud's victim, arrives in town. The Carvers pay off the police and hire a small militia to find and kill Mud.

Meanwhile, Ellis is dealing with personal troubles. His parents are heading for divorce, which threatens their old river houseboat, owned by his mother. Once no longer used as a residence by the owner, the boats are being taken off the river, due to recently passed laws.

Ellis falls for a high school girl named May Pearl and thinks he's in love. Mud looks to Tom Blankenship, an older father figure from his childhood, for help. Tom lives across the river from Ellis, so he is easy to find. Tom is disturbed that Mud is in trouble again over Juniper and refuses to help.

Stealing machine parts and other supplies from junkyards, the boys help Mud repair the boat and rebuild the engine. They also locate Juniper, but she decides not to leave with Mud, and breaks his heart by having an affair with another man. Ellis suffers heartbreak when May Pearl rebuffs him in front of her friends.

Ellis angrily calls Mud a liar and says he made Ellis a thief when he returns to the island. Running away, Ellis falls into a creek with water moccasins and is bitten. Mud and Neckbone get Ellis to the mainland and Mud takes the boy to the hospital. Recognizing the wanted man, one of the hospital employees tips off King.

Mud and Neckbone get the repaired boat into the water. Mud gives Neckbone his gun but not the bullets. As Mud wants to say good-bye to Ellis, Neckbone takes him to Ellis' houseboat, where he is recovering. While Mud is there, Carver and his posse arrive and start shooting. From across the river and the roof of his houseboat, Tom uses his old sniper rifle to pick off several attackers. Mud saves Ellis and tries to get away, but appears to be shot before disappearing into the river. After all the posse members are dead, including Carver, the police arrive. One trooper calls King and delivers the message that his other son is dead.

Ellis' parents separate and when his mother moves to a town apartment, their houseboat is taken off the river. Seeing attractive teenage girls there, Ellis renews his sense of hope. He is uncertain of Mud's fate but believes again he has some redeeming value.

Mud is then revealed to not be dead after all; he is shown waking up in his repaired boat driven by Blankenship, who is nursing him back to full health. Mud grins and the pair continues on the boat along the delta toward open sea as the film comes to a close.


  • Matthew McConaughey as Mud
  • Reese Witherspoon as Juniper
  • Tye Sheridan as Ellis
  • Jacob Lofland as Neckbone
  • Sam Shepard as Tom Blankenship
  • Ray McKinnon as Senior
  • Sarah Paulson as Mary Lee
  • Michael Shannon as Galen
  • Joe Don Baker as King
  • Paul Sparks as Carver
  • Stuart Greer as Miller
  • Bonnie Sturdivant as May Pearl
  • John Ward Jr. as Galen's Helper
  • Kristy Barrington as Princess
  • Johnny Cheek as Kyle
  • Kenneth Hill as Nelson
  • Michael Abbott, Jr. as James


Jeff Nichols wrote and directed Mud, which was fully financed by Everest Entertainment and produced by Everest and FilmNation Entertainment. Nichols came up with the concept for the film in the 1990s. He had always had McConaughey in mind after seeing him in Lone Star (1996). While still a student, Nichols began developing the story, inspired by Mark Twain's works, including the 1876 novel Tom Sawyer. He also sought to reflect the theme of love: "I wanted to capture a point in my life in High School when I had crushes on girls and it totally broke my heart and it was devastating. I wanted to try and bottle that excitement and that pain and that intensity of being in love and being a teenager."

Nichols said he had long envisioned the role of Mud for Matthew McConaughey. In May 2011, Chris Pine was in talks for the lead role. McConaughey was cast as Mud the following August and was joined by Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon was at the same agency as Nichols, so he was able to approach her for the role of Juniper.

For the local boys of a small Delta town, Nichols cast boys who could already pilot boats and ride dirt bikes, instead of ones who would have to be taught on set. For the teenage role of Neckbone, over auditioned, and 15-year-old Jacob Lofland from Yell County, Arkansas, was cast.

Nichols started shooting Mud in his home state of Arkansas on , 2011. Filming took eight weeks and concluded on . He filmed in Southeast Arkansas; locations included Dumas, De Witt, Lake Village, Crocketts Bluff, and Stuttgart. The island in the film was located outside the city of Eudora. The cast and crew numbered over 100 people, around half of whom were Arkansas residents. Over 400 locals were also involved as extras. According to the state government's Economic Development Commission, "Mud is the largest production ever to be filmed in the state." Nichols said about filming in parts of Southeast Arkansas, "These places and people have such a particular accent and culture, and they're quickly getting homogenized. I wanted to capture a snapshot of a place that probably won't be there forever."

Mud's cinematographer Adam Stone used a Steadicam for filming. Stone, who was also cinematographer for Nichols's previous films Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, said, "If you look at 'Shotgun Stories,' the camera is fairly moored. With 'Take Shelter,' we had a lot more dolly work. In 'Mud,' the camera never really sits still. The locations were either super-remote or really small and cramped, so the Steadicam was the only thing that could get in there." The film was shot on Kodak VISION3 35 mm film stocks in the anamorphic format with Panavision G-Series lenses.


Mud premiered on , 2012 at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where it had a competition slot for the festival's prizes including the Palme d'Or. Reuters reported that the film "[earned] warm applause at a press screening". Varietys film critics Justin Chang and Peter Debruge considered Mud one of their favorites of the film festival. Debruge said the film was reminiscent of the novel Huckleberry Finn: "It so elegantly addresses what masculinity and family really mean in the heartland." He said the Mississippi River in Mud was "a mythic backdrop... in which old values struggle against stronger modern forces in the world".

British film critic Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, stating that "Mud is an engaging and good-looking picture with two bright leading performances".

After its Cannes premiere, no distributor immediately purchased rights to release the film in the United States. By August 2012, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions acquired rights to distribute Mud in the United States. In January 2013, Mud screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and the Austin American-Statesman reported, "His modern take on Mark Twain played to an enthusiastic sold-out crowd of more than 500 people."

The film opened in limited release on , 2013, before expanding on , 2013.


Mud received nearly universal acclaim from film critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 98%, based on reviews from 150 critics, with the site's consensus: "Bolstered by a strong performance from Matthew McConaughey in the title role, Mud offers an engaging Southern drama that manages to stay sweet and heartwarming without being sappy." Metacritic gave the film a normalized average score of 76, based on 35 reviews.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mud_%282012_film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



    Page generated in 0.29255604743958 seconds