Friday, January 3, 2014

"Mud" (2013)

I was told that “Mud” was the best movie of the year by a friend, so I had to go into it with careful expectations.

It is indeed a masterfully crafted piece of art, both as a film and as a story. The cinematography is beautiful. The acting is wonderful. The story is carefully structured and told to convey a message, and it succeeds. The viewer is left thinking about the story and its meaning for days. Unfortunately, the viewer may also be left let down when all is said and done.

The story is all about the dangers of love, as seen in a classic doubling of characters. One is a boy, Ellis, living with his soon to be separating parents in a riverboat. The other is a man, the titular Mud, who seemed to have a similar upbringing and who is now hiding out from the law on that same river. The reason he must hide is that he has killed a man, all for the love of a woman. He has loved this woman since he was the boy’s age. Ellis sees in Mud an ideal of love that he aspires to imitate.

Unfortunately, Ellis also has to learn that the romantic ideals Mud has about love are not practical nor safe. You can love another person completely, sacrificing everything for them, and be left with no love in return. This is not a story of ultimate Love as it superficially may appear, not the Love illustrated in Hosea. This is a very human perspective on love. Mud is not God, faithful to His wandering people. Mud is just a man who, like Ellis, needs to learn to be wiser in relationships.

Maybe I am a hopeless romantic, but that is not the lesson I wanted from this story.

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