As Ellis, Tye Sheridan is an absolute revelation. His brooding innocence recalls a young River Phoenix; strong yet fragile, at times heartbreaking. He's a young talent to be reckoned with. In a career-best turn, McConaughey equally mesmerizes. His Mud is a liar who's pure to a fault, an enigmatic mix of charisma and confusion, certainty and fallibility.

Like Mud himself, this film both fascinates and provokes, proving itself a very effective thriller that boasts qualities both literary and cinematic.

Like Ellis, we long for love to prevail even when everything says that's a naïve and foolish notion.

And like any coming of age story, the loss of innocence is unavoidable. When it happens, people end up concluding one of two things: either Love fails, or humans do. If you believe the former, you're bound for bitterness. If you believe the latter, you'll open yourself up to grace.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Drinking in a bar. One man smokes regularly throughout the film.
  • Language/Profanity: Ongoing use of the S-word throughout, on several occasions by two teens. Five uses of the H-word, five of the A-word, two SOBs, three instances of the Lord’s name in vain. One use of the middle finger.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity: Three uses of the T-word slang for breasts. A man and woman stand close together, intimately. Two teens kiss briefly. A man makes a crude reference about having sex. Covers of Penthouse; no nudity.
  • Violence/Other: A gunfight/ambush scene involving a lot of people. Some people are shot and killed; at times violent/graphic in depiction but not bloody. Two instances of teens in a fist-fight. A woman is beaten by a man. A boy is punched by a man. Someone falls into a river bed of snakes, is snake-bitten.

Publication date: April 26, 2013