6.9/10
44,110
147 user 178 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 and women in an uprising against the corrupt local Confederate government.

Director:

Gary Ross

Writers:

Gary Ross (screenplay by), Leonard Hartman (story) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,944 ( 386)
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew McConaughey ... Newton Knight
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Rachel
Mahershala Ali ... Moses
Keri Russell ... Serena
Christopher Berry ... Jasper Collins
Sean Bridgers ... Will Sumrall
Jacob Lofland ... Daniel
Thomas Francis Murphy ... Elias Hood
Bill Tangradi ... Lt. Barbour
Brian Lee Franklin ... Davis Knight
Kerry Cahill ... Mary / Yeoman Farmer
Joe Chrest ... James Eakins
Jessica Collins ... Annie
Donald Watkins ... Wilson
Jill Jane Clements ... 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

Taglines:

Fight for freedom. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Free State of Jones See more »

Filming Locations:

Jones County, Mississippi, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,772,000, 26 June 2016

Gross USA:

$20,758,378, 22 July 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After years of research and writing the screenplay, Gary Ross found that no one was interested in financing a film about the Civil War. Disillusioned, he went off to make The Hunger Games (2012) instead, during which time both Lincoln (2012) and 12 Years a Slave (2013) opened, changing studio perceptions completely. See more »

Goofs

In the camp scene of July 1863, someone wit a harmonica is playing "Beautiful Dreamer" by Stephen Foster. It was published posthumously in March 1864, by Wm. A. Pond & Co. of New York. See more »

Quotes

Newton Knight: From this day forward we declare the land north of Pascagoula Swamp, south of enterprise and east to the Pearl River to the Alabama border, to be a Free State of Jones. And as such we do hereby proclaim and affirm the following principles. Number one, no man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. Number two, no man ought to tell another man what you got to live for or what he's got to die for. Number three, what you put in the ground is yours to tend and harvest and there ain't no man ...
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Connections

Referenced in The History of Jones County (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Piney Woods Swamp
(uncredited)
by Nicholas Britell', Tim Fain, Shawn Conley & Shawn Pelton
© (P) 2016 STX Recordings, LLC., under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment
Customer Ratings
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User Reviews

 
A Great Historical Drama
28 June 2016 | by caseynicholsonSee 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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