There’s a rhythm to the characters’ lives in Jeff Nichols’ coming-of-age tale Mud
that makes the whole project feel something like Mark Twain’s take on Stand by Me
. The movie opens with 14-year-old best friends Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) taking a canoe with an outboard motor down the Mississippi to a small island in order to check out a bigger boat that they’ve heard is stuck up in the trees. They not only find the oddly marooned boat, but also stumble across a homeless man living on the island. He introduces himself as Mud (Matthew McConaughey), quickly wins a small level of trust from the two boys (not to mention their total fas...