To many people “The McConaissance” started with the 2012 film “Mud”. This film that stars Matthew McConaughey as the eponymous character is a coming of age/crime drama set on the Mississippi River. McConaughey plays a drifter whose past captures up when he befriends two boys named Ellis and Neckbone.
Ellis is an introspective and naive teenager who wants things to be alright between his quarreling parents. He meets Mud on a deserted patch of land off of the Mississippi River and quickly takes to the man’s ideas of love and wanting to do the right thing. Ellis goes out of his way to help Mud get back to his lost love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) who seems to be more trouble for him than he wants to believe. Ellis’ world is shaken when all his ideas about love proves to be what he never expected.
I have always been of fan of director Jeff Nichols’ work since I saw “Shotgun Stories” last year. Each one of his films has a naturalistic and grounded feel to them. These are ordinary people who are trying their best to take care of the ones they love anyway that they can. This movie delves even further in showing the innocence lost when what you expect life to be doesn’t turn out to be true.
McConaughey delivers a great performance as a man who would do anything for the woman he loves and pays the price for it. But the movie goes to Tye Sheridan as Ellis. Ellis is a hopeless romantic who believes that love can conquer all but awakens when he sees so much lost around him.