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Film / Mud

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Mud is a 2012 American film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. It's a Coming-of-Age Story mixed with crime drama set on the downstream of Arkansas River.

Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are two fourteen-year old boys living in De Witt, Arkansas. Finding a boat that was stuck on a tree in the middle of an island led the two friends into an encounter with a strange man who called himself Mud (Matthew McConaughey). With Mud promising to give them the boat, Ellis and Neck agreed to help him live while he waited for his lover, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), to come and go with him. However, things aren't so simple as that. Bounty hunters began to visit the town looking for a murderer, and the truth about Mud began to unveil.

The film received universal acclaim and many accolades. Matthew McConaughey earned much praise and acknowledgements to his acting abilities.


Mud contains examples of these tropes:

  • Amicable Exes: In the end, Mud and Juniper part ways as these and it's implied that Ellis' parents become these, as well. At the very least, the last conversation in the film is between Ellis and his father, where the latter instructs his son to be good to Mary Lee (the mother), implying that Senior had come to understand his wife's reasons for leaving him.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Neckbone. Mud even makes fun of it.
  • Badass Grandpa: Tom Blankenship, a former Marine sharpshooter.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: The movie tries to make Juniper look like damaged goods. The problem? She's played by Reese Witherspoon, one of the most glamorous actresses of her generation.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tom finally shows off his sniping ability in the climax, saving Mud, Ellis, and Ellis' parents.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Mud and Ellis both Did Not Get the Girl, but the former manages to escape his pursuers and is ready to start a new life while the latter has come to terms with his parents' divorce and has matured in regards of love.
  • Broken Pedestal: Ellis. He believed that love will conquer any obstacles and bring perfect happiness. He helps Mud and Juniper to prove the ideal true after his parents plans a divorce. Too bad, Mud and Juniper break up in the end.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Mud is a superstitious, but badass survivalist.
  • Character Title: The protagonist role is divided between Mud and Ellis, though.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The snake-infested creek. But "not Chekhov's Gun" is Mud's pistol.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The film is about Ellis growing up through his adventure with Mud.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Mud is trapped in one. He had murdered Juniper's Bastard Boyfriend to avenge his abuses to her and the boyfriend's crime syndicate of a family are now hunting Mud down.
  • Deep South: Arkansas, to be exact, despite critics constantly confusing it with Mississippi.
  • Deserted Island: A boat got stranded in the middle of one in the Arkansas River. The plot started with the boys meeting with Mud there.
  • Exact Words: Mud promised Neckbone his gun in exchange of helping him prepare the boat to escape. He does give the boy the gun, but not the bullets.
  • Foil: Mud is essentially what Ellis would become if he hadn't matured beyond his notions on romance.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Neckbone built his own motorcycles and later helps Mud rebuild the boat.
  • Heroic BSoD: Mud, after Juniper decides to ditch him, and Ellis, after finding out that May never takes his feelings seriously and that Juniper and Mud have given up their relationship.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nobody in the cast is a completely nice person. Each has their share of selfishness and bad deeds, but they are able to show kindness from time to time.
  • Love Makes You Stupid: Mud has gone through hell for his love to Juniper. Too bad, the girl doesn't have what it takes to keep loving the man he has become; a fugitive.
  • Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: Ellis' parents react this way when they find out that Ellis has stolen a motor from his father's friends' backyard. It's for Mud to use.
  • Parental Substitute: Tom is one for Mud as Galen for Neck.
  • Puppy Love: Ellis towards May Pearl.
  • Two First Names: May Pearl, Ellis' crush, and Mary Lee, Ellis' mother. The coincidence is Lampshaded by his father.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tom berates Mud for involving Ellis and Neck in his problem.


Example of: