Mud: Cannes Review
The Bottom Line
Solid, traditional indie fare could be embraced by heartland audiences with proper handling.
Matthew McConaughey stars in director Jeff Nichols’ film about two Mississippi boys who forge a bond with a sympathetic fugitive.
The story of a sympathetic fugitive who forges a bond with two teenage boys near a mighty river down south, Mud is shot through with traditional qualities of American literature and drama. Jeff Nichols’ much-anticipated follow-up to his breakthrough second feature Take Shelter feels less adventurous and unsettling but remains a well carpentered piece of work marked by some fine performances and resilient thematic fiber. A shrewd and determined distributor would pursue the connection this exploration of love’s elusiveness could make with a mainstream heartland audience more than highbrow critical acceptance, as the potential seems present for good word of mouth with a public hungry for stories with which they can directly relate.
Nearly every relationship in Nichols’s screenplay is threatened, fractured or broken. Ellis (Tye Sheridan) has good reason to believe that his parents (Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon) are headed for a divorce, while is best pal Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) is being raised by his oyster-diving uncle Galen (Michael Shannon). Ellis, who’s 14, lives in a funky old houseboat while the nearby Arkansas town is a characterless wasteland of large chain stores and housing developments.
Let’s get started on our full Cannes Film Festival coverage, as I’ve now had the chance to save a few (hundred) pictures from yesterday’s events. To start us off, I have added photos from the Mud press conference, which was held after the photocall yesterday. There are some beautiful close-up shots that are definitely worth a view or two!
Remember that you can watch the full press conference over at the official Cannes website.
Photocall pictures coming next (and there are lots!)…!
As we’ve posted about, Mud received it’s world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival today, with Reese attending a photocall, press conference and premiere for the film with her co-stars and director. I’ve collected together several articles about their appearance plus reviews of the movie, so browse through this post to read them.
The film seems to be receiving mixed-positive reviews so far which is good! I will be on the lookout for more, as the film has just had it’s official premiere screening this evening (after the red carpet).
Cannes 2012: ‘Mud’ Director Jeff Nichols Steals the Spotlight from Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon
Indie director Jeff Nichols hardly seems like the kind of guy to grab attention from Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey, but that’s exactly what the young filmmaker did at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.
Nichols, 33, was at Cannes for the second time with only his third film, “Mud,” and the aw-shucks director so captivated the media at the film’s news conference that they almost totally ignored the two gorgeous Hollywood A-list stars in his film.
Nichols was seated between a pregnant and very blond Reese Witherspoon, who dazzled in a little black dress and fuchsia stilettos, and Matthew McConaughey, all square-jawed and tanner than usual in a white jacket.
The excellent Cannes Film Festival official website have posted their videos from today’s Mud photocall, press conference and premiere, as well as an interview with the cast and director. Unfortunately embedding is not available, so hop on over to the official Mud page at the Cannes website to watch them all.
Reese has just walked the red carpet and famous Palais des Festivals steps for the premiere of Mud at Cannes. She looks very elegant in a shimmery sapphire blue gown, with her hair in a tidy up-do.
Below is a preview snapshot, and I am saving more photos as we speak! I will start adding photos, reviews and articles from today in a little while.
Pregnant Reese Witherspoon Hits Cannes in Fitted, Baby-Bump Enhancing LBD
Ooh la la!
A radiant Reese Witherspoon was all smiles when she stepped out in Cannes, France on Friday to promote her new film, Mud, in which she stars opposite Matthew McConaughey.
The pregnant star, who is expecting her first child with husband Jim Toth, chose a fitted black Versace mini dress with flattering ruched detail that enhanced her growing baby bump. She accessorized with diamond drop earrings, her massive engagement ring, bright fuchsia heels and black Versace sunglasses.
Despite being several months pregnant, the 36-year-old actress didn’t look the least bit jet-lagged at the premiere after having landed in the city the day before.
“The flight over was actually pretty good. I feel great,” she told Us Weekly on Thursday about her trip from LAX to France. “I’m excited about showing the movie. The energy here is great!”
That night, the This Means War actress and her CAA agent hubby attended the Ciroc Vodka Erno Laszlo dinner for The Paperboy, where Toth doted on his expectant spouse.
“She and Jim were talking closely…he was clearly protective of her whenever they were standing up or walking around, practically putting both arms around her,” a witness tells Us. While walking through the event and conversing with friends, the mama-to-be assured that she was “surprisingly not tired.” (Toth and Witherspoon ended up heading out around 11:15.)
Reese arrived in Cannes on Thursday, and today has joined her Mud director Jeff Nichols and co-stars Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland for the photocall for their film! The five of them posed for the photographers earlier this morning, with Reese looking chic in a little black dress and pink heels.
Zillions of photos are going to be popping up throughout the day, so I am going to hold off adding anything to our Gallery just yet. Below is a preview photo, and check back throughout the day and weekend for the full batch – there will be a lot!
I will also be going through all the articles and reviews that pop up and start to post them throughout the day.
Devil’s Knot, Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis Three biopic starring Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon, is moving full speed ahead.
New York-based motion picture production and investment company Worldview Entertainment will finance and produce the project, which The Weinstein Co. is debuting to foreign buyers at the Marche du Film this week in Cannes. CAA and WME are handling domestic rights.
Devil’s Knot is based on the 2002 best-seller by investigative journalist Mara Leveritt about the savage murders of three 8-year-old boys and the conviction of three teenagers accused of killing them as part of a satanic ritual. In August 2011, the defendants were released due to lack of evidence after spending 18 years in prison.
Actual defendants Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin are executive producing Devil’s Knot with Worldview’s Molly Conners, Sarah Johnson Redlich, Maria Cestone and Hoyt David Morgan. Producers are Elizabeth Fowler, Clark Peterson, Richard Saperstein and Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow.
The case of the West Memphis Three already has spawned a handful of documentaries, including West of Memphis, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. That film was directed by Amy J. Berg and produced by Peter Jackson and Damien Echols, the third defendant.
IndieWire.com reports that The Kids Are Alright director Lisa Cholodenko has signed on to direct Wild, one of the movies Reese acquired and is producing under her new production line Pacific Standard. We previously reported details on Wild here and here, so have a read of them to refresh your memory.
Director Lisa Cholodenko recently sat down with The Playlist moments before her panel with fellow alum Shari Springer Berman and Nicole Holofcener at the Columbia University Film Festival this week, to debate the glass ceiling and how it affects making their films — during the course of which, Cholodenko let slip a couple of her yet-to-be announced projects among her other updates.
Witherspoon is also slated to produce and star in one of Cholodenko’s other new projects, an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of her 1,100-mile solo hike in the wake of personal tragedy, “Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.”
“The author sent it to Reese, going, ” ‘I can’t imagine who else would do this,'” Cholodenko said. “And then I sniffed around it, without realizing ‘Wild’ had already been given to her [to produce], and then I somehow got involved in it, and now I’m doing that.” Chodolenko will write and direct, while Strayed confirmed over email that she’s acting as a resource and a consultant as the script is developed, and that she will be an associate producer on the film as well.
The first two clips from Reese’s upcoming movie Mud have been released online today, in anticipation of it’s premiere at Cannes later this month. Unfortunately neither of them feature Reese, but they give us a good look at Mud and the two kids. I really like the feel of the movie that we get from these two clips, and I’m getting more excited to see more about it!
HitFix.com have an interesting preview of the movie’s chances at Cannes, which is worth a read.
RopeOfSilicon gives us the lowdown on the plot, and clips are embedded below:
McConaughey stars as the title character as it explores his friendship with a 14-year-old boy named Ellis (Tye Sheridan). The two first meet when Ellis and has best friend are exploring the nearby Mississippi river and discover a deserted island where they encounter Mud, a dirty, desperate yet oddly compelling stranger.
Mud is on the run for a crime of passion, and bounty hunters are closing in on him. Moved by the romantic notion of his story and intrigued by the promise of a great adventure, the boys conspire to aid Mud in his escape and reunite him with the love of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon).
I just came across this article and thought it was an interesting little tidbit on Reese’s political affiliations. It’s from Vanity Fair so I’d consider it fairly reliable. Read on if you’re interested…
You know that approximately $40,000/plate fund-raiser that your friend George Clooney is hosting on May 10? The same $40,000/plate dinner whose value was crudely estimated by campaign staff to be just $200? And the same one that you would certainly be attending if you hadn’t already made plans for that night with friends you’ve already canceled on like three times and can’t bring yourself to cancel on again? Well, as it turns out, the event was not always supposed to be hosted by occasional Obama dinner partner George Clooney. According to The Hollywood Reporter, campaign officials surveyed the L.A. metro area for the coolest (and most presidential) party mansion before deciding on Clooney’s abode.
In addition to the Oscar winner’s house—already opened to political supporters of all kinds in February—organizers considered the Brentwood home of Reese Witherspoon. The actress, who attended this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner in D.C., was reportedly looking for ways to become more involved with the president’s re-election campaign. Organizers also dismissed the idea of an L.A.-area hotel ballroom, and if they have any of the same considerations as your high-school prom committee, passed on the local science center, the aquarium, and, most annoyingly, that awesome cruise ship that promises a “dance club atmosphere.” DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg was originally slated to host the event, but construction on his Beverly Hills estate will not be finished in time.
Alas, Clooney’s house is already working out just fine: the fund-raiser has reportedly pulled in $10 million, making it the most lucrative Obama-campaign event to date.
Today’s screencapture update comes from one of Reese’s earliest movies – 1993’s A Far Off Place. Big big thanks to Josie for capping it for us, as I have been unable to find a video or DVD of it anywhere. Reese was adorable in this movie, and shows that even at a young age, she was a natural on screen. I remember that when I watched this many years ago I really enjoyed it. As well as the good narrative and pace – it keeps you interested throughout – it also has some beautiful scenery, and a good message. It’s a really likeable movie, and I’d definitely recommend it to those who are lucky enough to be able to get their hands on a copy!
Interesting trivia fact: Ethan Randall who played Harry in the movie, later worked with Reese again in Sweet Home Alabama, playing Bobby Ray.
Browse through 900+ screencaptures from this film in our Gallery…