I am from Arkansas and when we run across an author from our state I check them out. I also like to make a note of any musician making it big from my home state. That means no film is hidden from my perusal. Recently a movie made in Arkansas, written by an Arkansan hit the silver screen. It’s title is “MUD”.
The story is about two boys living in the delta region of the Arkansas River. They traverse the Arkansas River to where it intersects the Mississippi, a vast and wide waterway for the too small craft they use to get to a river island where they discover a man with a suspicious past named Mud (Matthew McConaughey). Turns out, the man is running from the law. He is biding his time until he can get the woman he loves, Judith (Reese Witherspoon) safely away. The two boys decide to help him in his quest. Ellis (Tye Sheridan), 14 yo, lives on a house boat on the river, his father making a living off the river fishing. The other boy, Neckbone (Jacob Loftland) is an orphan, raised by his uncle who digs for muscles at the river bottom using a homemade diving suit.
All the characters are interesting and the setting is so typically Arkansas. I’ve driven through countless towns in that region that look just like that. The river angle of the story is refreshing for me, because I have a closer tie to the farming side of the region. From other reviews I’ve snatched snippets from, the accuracy of the river life is so true to form.
What I loved about this story, though, was it reminded me so much of Huck Finn. Two boys helping a man in trouble with the law. Ellis has a romance going with a high school girl only to find she is just playing him. Both boys consider this an adventure taking up with Mud. They run errands to his girl friend, steal equipment to help get a stranded boat afloat as his means of escape. They manage to get themselves into trouble for their efforts.Will they make it through these exploits unscathed? The climax is full of suspense and leaves you wondering… but only for a short while.
The ultimate theme of the story is the strength and pull of love and the things we must do, both desirable and undesirable, for those we love. And love always wins out.
I love happy ever after endings.