By Sofia Jesus
When I was little, I used to watch Tom Sawyer on TV — sorry, Mark Twain. I still know the lyrics of the cartoon by heart, for those adventures around the Mississipi made me dream of exotic places, unexpected challenges, freedom and forever friends.
Mud (2012), written and directed by Jeff Nichols, has made me live all that once again. But it did much more than that.
The film, set amazingly around the Mississipi river, tells the story of two teenagers who meet a lonely drifter who calls himself Mud (Matthew Mcconaughey) when they are out in an islet exploring a wrecked boat mysteriously abandoned on the top of a tree.
Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) soon embark on a mission to try to help Mud get hold of his life with his girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon).
The film has all the ingredients for demanding adventure fans: a wrecked boat; a challenging river flowing to the unknown; mysterious men with hidden pasts and guns; a manhunt — by police, as well as bounty hunters; a girl in distress; inseparable friends; and even snakes.
But it also has troubled families, teenage fears and hopes, and love — the good, the bad and the ugly. And it is perhaps the adding of these to the thrilling blend — alongside a great interpretation by Mcconaughey and the kids, and beautiful photography — that make the film much more than a tale of adventures.
As I glue to the screen, as I did as a child, Ellis and Neckbone did make me relive the excitement of watching Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’ adventures, but only to beautifully leave me with the bittersweet conviction that love is the wildest adventure of them all.
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
With: Matthew Mcconaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon