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Cannes 2012: "Mud" Review Round-Up

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 26, 2012 at 12:00PM

For many critics "Mud," Jeff Nichols' follow-up to well-reviewed "Take Shelter," which won the Critics' Week Cannes sidebar last year, was one of the most highly anticipated films this year. It is also one of the few films, along with Lee Daniels' "Paperboy," that is up for grabs by American distributors.
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MudMcConaughey
Jeff Nichols' "Mud."

For many critics "Mud," Jeff Nichols' follow-up to well-reviewed "Take Shelter," which won the Critics' Week Cannes sidebar last year,  was one of the most highly anticipated films this year. It is also one of the few films, along with Lee Daniels' "Paperboy," that is up for grabs by American distributors. Most assume that "Take Shelter" buyer Sony Pictures Classics will land the film. An early buyers' screening yielded negative buzz on the Croisette, but seller FilmNation's Glen Basner insists that the festival frowns on rival press screenings and that they were confident in the film's ultimate playability with critics and audiences alike.

Here are Variety and The Playlist reviews; we'll supplement as more come in.

Variety:

If "Take Shelter" embodied man's crushing inability to cope with forces beyond his control, and "Shotgun Stories" examined a blood feud from the side of those in the wrong, then ascending writer-director Jeff Nichols blends the turbulent waters of the former with the dirty dealings of the latter to make "Mud." Confidently expanding his inquiry into the essence of American masculity, Nichols' latest pressure-cooker pastoral conjures a wily figure of endangered Southern chivalry whose name is … you guessed it. Sturdy turns from Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon should support a wide release, curbed somewhat by pic's unhurried pace and heavy regional temperament.


The Playlist:

"Mud," American writer/director Jeff Nichols' underwhelming follow-up to the masterfully visceral "Take Shelter," is both a shallow and contrived coming of age story. While both 'Shelter' and "Shotgun Stories," Nichols' promising debut feature, explore their respective characters' motives and emotions, "Mud" instead offers pat sentiments and bland bathos.

This article is related to: Festivals, Festivals, Cannes Film Festival


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.