Usually it’s female movie characters who pine away for the guys they just can’t have and interminably wait for the phone to ring. In a refreshing and sobering twist, it’s the male character in Jeff Nichols’s new movie Mud who’s unrequitedly in love.
The lovelorn guy holed up on an island in the Mississippi is named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) with the love of his life, it seems, fatedly out of his grasp. She’s Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), and Mud has inconveniently killed one of her exes. He’s a wanted man who’s waiting for the law, as well as the murdered man’s family, to descend.
Hope appears in the form of two young male teens, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and his best friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland). The duo just might be able to serve as go-betweens between Mud and Juniper, get Mud needed supplies, and help him repair a damaged boat so that he and Juniper can reunite and triumphantly sail away into the sunset.
Because his parents’ marriage is crumbling and he romantically yearns for an older girl at school, sensitive Ellis is a particularly vulnerable mark. Yet he’d like nothing better than to prove wrong his father’s words, “You can’t trust love,” even if it means putting himself in mortal danger tending to Mud’s errands. Smart-mouthed Neckbone, who lives with his uncle (Michael Shannon), is not unsympathetic to Mud’s dilemma, either.
At the heart of Mud is the fierce challenge of coming to grips with the unavailability of what one wants most in life. Such evanescence is the realm of Neptune and, when a woman is involved, you’ve got the Idealized (Neptune) Feminine (Venus) who becomes so removed from reality that she’s literally out of reach. Playing it smart, as one of the movie’s characters puts it, is knowing what’s worth keeping and what needs letting go. Is Mud brave enough to embrace those words and say it’s over?
Astrology Film Rating: ♆ (Neptune)