Sensitive, somewhat effeminate farm-boy Duncan Mudge can barely cope with grim, since Ma's death even gloomier father Edgar's manly expectations, and seeks comfort in petting a chicken he ... See full summary »
Brady (Sean Hoagland), who will shortly be going away to college, is a shy, introspective 18 year old, who moves to the coastal seaside town of Rock Haven with his overprotective, widowed ... See full summary »
Laura Jane Coles
Sensitive, somewhat effeminate farm-boy Duncan Mudge can barely cope with grim, since Ma's death even gloomier father Edgar's manly expectations, and seeks comfort in petting a chicken he associates with his late Ma. Macho mate Perry Foley, who has it physically even harder on his dad's farm, usually comforts Duncan and defends his 'wimpiness' to their cocky ruffian mates Travis, Scotty and Brent. But although clearly attracted to gentle gentile Ducan himself, the socially unacceptable suggestion of 'sissy' homosexuality makes Perry over-react and turn on his friend. Written by
Michael Burke developed the screenplay for the film at a Sundance Labs in 2000. Burke says of inspiration for the film: "Growing up in rural Vermont, I wanted to tell a story about a kid too sensitive for the harsh environment in which he was raised." See more »
The Mudge Boy represents some of the finest cinema to come out of Sundance in 2003. The story moves at a leisurely pace but excels in character development and dialogue. Burke revels in his setting- a rural, emotional wasteland painted with eerily quiet, majestic landscapes which idly conflict with the title character's introversion and despair. Emile Hirsch affects a delicately nuanced, charismatic performance as the title character, struggling with the death of his beloved mother. Richard Jenkins demands every speck of attention possible while he's on screen; it's a pure delight to watch this fine actor work. I usually don't pick out smaller performances, but Zachary Knighton as the chief bully's "sidekick," Travis, is superbly threatening and commands the screen, as well. His performance is staggeringly three-dimensional and defies every cliche of "teenage bully" portrayals ever committed to celluloid. There's a big future for this guy. Overall, this film deserves to be seen by anyone who appreciates uncliched, moving drama filled with wonderful performances.
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