In the aftermath of WWII, somewhere in the muddy Mississippi Delta, two families--one black, the Jacksons, and the other white, the McAllans--are forced to share the same patch of land, keeping a frail race-based peace with each other. However, as they both struggle with hardship and dire poverty, the long-awaited return of two war veterans--Ronsel, the Jacksons' eldest son, and Jamie, Henry McAllan's younger brother--will unexpectedly nurture a budding friendship that transcends prejudice and race. But, in the end, against a backdrop of fevered Mississippi sunsets and vitriolic racism, life can be hard when the law of the land is still segregation and hatred. And then, no one can be safe.Written by
"Mighty River" marks Mary J. Blige's third original song written for a motion picture. She co-wrote it with Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson. Her other motion picture contributions include "I Can See in Color" (from "Precious: Based On The Novel "Push" By Sapphire") and "The Living Proof" (from "The Help") for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for the latter. See more »
When Jamie comes home from the war, a package of Lucky Strike "Green" is visible on the table. Lucky's packaging was switched to white in 1942; even in the middle of nowhere, there's no way a three-year-old package of cigarettes would not have been consumed, especially with rationing. See more »
A flat, self-important movie. I'm baffled by the critical bouquets.
Ronsel quick-drying mud stain: it does exactly what it says on the tin – attempts to create a weighty, socially-conscious art movie from Hillary Jordan's plotty, slightly trashy but well-meaning page- turner.
Dee Rees's film spends more time in battle, fleshes out the Ronsel- Jamie relationship, and dwells on the minutiae of African-American life in the Deep South, but in a choppily uninvolving way, and at the expense of Laura's intriguing story of love, repression, sexual and racial guilt.
Critically, it never summons the book's sense of inexorable, fatalistic dread, nor knows what to do as it reaches its climax, which is first silly, then rushed and finally pointlessly and unconvincingly rose-tinted.
Mudbound has a few painterly images, good performances from Jason Mitchell and Carey Mulligan (who has one fantastic scene largely disconnected from the narrative and the worst pregnancy prop in decades) and an unvarnished understanding of the unglamorous, subservient pragmatism needed to survive as a black man in '40s Mississippi, but it isn't very compelling or convincing.
I say this as a middle-class white bloke, but... what promised to be a timely exploration of the African-American experience from an urgent and valuable contemporary voice is instead just a standard book adaptation: a mediocre melodrama that deals with big themes in a handsome but hackneyed way. Plus lots of Mary J. Blige staring out of windows.
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