Coming of age in Arkansas

Mud Entertainment One Rating: PG 130 minutes

Two young boys go out on the river near their Arkansas town and land on an island which features a boat up in a tree (from a recent flood). But someone is living in the boat and soon they meet him. He is a rather scruffy man (Matthew McConaughey) named Mud.

He’s hiding out on the island, carries a gun and is almost starving. So they make a deal. They’ll bring him food and the boys can have the boat when he leaves. Mud is also planning to get together with the love of his life (Reese Witherspoon).

The two boys, wonderfully played by Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, become friends and soon all three are working hard to get the boat out of the tree and ready for the river. But Sheridan is having problems at home where his parents are breaking up. And there is a gang of men trying to find Mud because he killed a man who treated Witherspoon badly.

Meanwhile Sheridan’s character is coming of age as he learns about life and falling in love.

This is a leisurely, southern drama, and not for all tastes. The acting is excellent. It is especially nice to see McConaughey in something besides romantic comedies and there is an excellent supporting cast that includes Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson and Michael Shannon. This reviewer is not sure all the plot twists work, or are necessary, but this is a better than average drama.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.