6.8/10
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60 user 116 critic

Free State of Jones (2016)

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A disillusioned Confederate army deserter returns to Mississippi and leads a militia of fellow deserters, runaway slaves, and women in an uprising against the corrupt local Confederate government.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Serena
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Will Sumrall
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Elias Hood
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Lt. Barbour
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Davis Knight
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Mary / Yeoman Farmer
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James Eakins
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Annie
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Wilson
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Aunt Sally
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Storyline

Set during the Civil War, Free State of Jones tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War. Written by STX Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Based on the incredible true story.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 June 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El valiente  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,572,206 (USA) (24 June 2016)

Gross:

$20,758,378 (USA) (22 July 2016)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Eunice Smith, an actual descendant of Newt Knight, was an extra in the movie. See more »

Goofs

Newt is shown waving his cap. Later we get a close up and do not see any bullet holes in the cap, however, it was never implied, stated, nor shown that the cap was ever actually shot. See more »

Quotes

Newton Knight: I'm tired of it. You, me, all of it! We're all out there dying so they can stay rich!
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Soundtracks

I'm Crying
Written and Performed by Lucinda Williams
Courtesy of Highway 20 Records
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User Reviews

 
A Great Historical Drama
28 June 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm surprised to see that this movie is currently averaging 6.5/10 stars--I found it to be worthy of an eight, and I even flirted with ranking it even higher.

The movie tells of a counter-rebellion in a Mississippi town during the Civil War, and is based on a true story. The film is done in a style that emulates "Twelve Years A Slave", and as such it deals with topics of slavery and secession in a way that is poignant but also constructive.

In fairness, there are a few things that the film could be rightly critiqued for. The opening scenes of the film are fairly gory and filled with wartime violence, but fortunately that does not dominate the movie. As it progresses, the plot of the film does meander a bit, including a fast forward to a scene from some 85 years after the majority of the film that is interspersed throughout the rest of the movie. That technique felt a bit forced at times, but at the end of the film it made more sense why it had been used.

Additionally, the movie tells its main tale over the course of more than a decade, which makes for a bit of an odd cinematic journey--but, in my view, none of these issues are so problematic that they greatly take away from the movie. Rather, what we have here is a film that was desperately trying to be Oscar worthy, and that perhaps pushes the creative envelope a tad bit too far.

But again, there is more good here than bad. The story that the movie has to tell is both engaging and important--engaging in that it captures your attention and makes you care about the subject matter in a captivating way, and important in that it draws attention to historical facts that you probably were not aware of. I know it certainly highlighted some elements of Reconstruction that were new to me.

Regarding acting, this was perhaps not McConaughey's best role, but it's also not his worst. The supporting cast turns out a strong performance, and all in all the movie is well made.

That said, I'm going with 8/10 stars on this one. It's not the best Civil War flick ever made, and perhaps pales in comparison with other recent historical dramas like "Twelve Years" and "The Revenant", but it's nevertheless a great movie that deserves a "Very Good" score.


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