Life gives us many lessons and the practice of forgiveness and pure love are the most important, especially those moments of first love and inevitable disappointments.
That’s the feeling experienced by this film’s protagonist, a 14-year-old boy who is moved by such a courageous determination for love in many of its form, between man and woman, among family, dignity, loyalty and friendship.
There’s a similar schizophrenia in director’s Jeff Nichols’s follow up to “Take Shelter”, where the loss of control is an important characteristic in the narrative. Here, the people surrounding Ellis, are carrying tension and despair, which is a chance for the boy to overcome childhood, and step into maturity, serving as the one who can try to bring them relief. These characters are seen through Ellie’s perspective and the fact that he has to deal with a world falling apart, and drifting away from what motivates him the most, creates on him, one lovely hero conquering a familiar affection. Ellis and his friend Neckbone, spend their time getting into adventures around the small town in Mississippi, a humble and poor community of fishermen. Curious about a boat stuck above trees on an Island, they meet Mud, a mysterious man living there. At first they believe Mud is just a homeless guy, but then realize he is hiding from the authorities, after committing a murder. In Ellis innocent mind, people who were meant together are supposed to struggle for their relationship no matter what. He believes love is everlasting and he develops deeper interests in the subject, when he finds himself in love for a young girl, who is a bit older than he is. There’s love in everything he looks around, but there’s also the weakness of the human being, that cannot deal with pressure: while he’s in love for the first time, and determined to protect the girl of his dreams, he also witnesses his parents marriage meltdown, the efforts of Neckbone’s uncle to persuade his love interest, and embezzled and influenced by Mud’s love story and plan to reunite with his girlfriend, he decides helping the criminal, all because he believes in the strength of love.
With charismatic and honest performances, Nichols has made an incredible work of directing a simple and touching coming-of-age story with infinite results, with dark humor and a message of humanistic values. It’s also another brilliant performance by Matthew McConaughey showing his improvement as an actor, playing the title character. A Must See.