It is undeniably perplexing that a person, regardless of any race, gender, or sexual orientation, can willingly enlist and fight in a war only to come home treated like mud. There are a lot of intertwining stories going on in Mudbound (a film directed by Dee Rees and adapted from the novel by Hillary Jordan that is so timely and powerful, I feel ashamed for not having seen her other breakout work Pariah yet), complete with frequent voiceover narrations from six different characters (admittedly, some of it is unnecessary and too much, despite their poetic qualities penned in by writer Virgil Williams). It’s an ambitious concept that many veteran directors, let alone rising filmmakers, would fumble into an indescribable mess, except that doesn’t happen here; members of families both Caucasian and African-American feel real and with purpose, all connected to the bigger picture at hand. It’s about two families literally and figuratively stuck in the mud, where love is the answer and not irrational disdain based on prejudices. Mudbound is simultaneously devastating and uplifting.
Mudbound screened at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta.
Mudbound follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry (Jason Clarke), his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture. Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson (Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige) – sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations – struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face.
The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.
Mudbound is set to arrive on Netflix on November 17th.
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com