Director: Dee Rees
Writer: Virgil Williams, Dee Rees (Screenplay) Hillary Jordan (Novel)
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Kerry Cahill, Rob Morgan, Jason Mitchell, Mary J Bige, Kelvin Harrison Jr
Plot: Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Story: Mudbound starts as we meet the two families, the white family McAllans brothers Henry (Clarke), Jamie (Hedlund) and Henry’s wife Laura (Mulligan) as Henry buys a farm for his family while Jamie goes to World War II. We also meet the black family, the Jacksons, father Hap (Morgan) mother Florence (Blige) and one of the children Ronsel (Mitchell) who also goes to war, while the Jacksons start working for the McAllans.
When Jamie and Ronsel return from war as heroes, but Ronsel must deal with the racial tension in Mississippi still using segregation, while Jamie is left traumatised by his memories from war. The two strike up a friendship because of their experiences, which only causes problems for both the families, who can’t help with the problems the men are facing.
Thoughts on Mudbound
Characters – Laura McAllan is the wife of Henry and mother of their child, she is a homebody and she likes this role too. She works to keep things together and never falls into the racial mindset in the area. Jamie is the brother of Henry, he returned from war traumatised drinking his problems away with his best place to find calm is with Ronsel. Henry is the man who bought the farm, he father is a racist, but Henry treats the black farmhands equal to the law, his dream was for his family to have a farm but he learns not everything is as easy as he thought it would be. Ronsel comes from the black family that went to war, he is decorated for his service too, returning home he must deal with the racial problems running through Mississippi and not living up to his potential while working with his family on the farm. Hap and Florence are the parents of Ronsel that work for Henry, they have helped on the farm and in the home when the McAllan’s have needed help, they know that Ronsel needs his freedom after returning from war.
Performances – Jason Mitchell gives us a powerful performance as Ronsel, he might have had a couple of commercial films where he has struggled recently but this is back to his very best. Garrett Hedlund is an actor that has been criticised for years, but this role will be career defying. Jason Clarke and Carey Mulligan are great in their roles through the film giving us what you expect from the both. Rob Morgan and Mary J Blige both give strong performances too, as both stars I am unfamiliar with their work beforehand.
Story – The story starts with a bang, we see a coffin being prepared for burial and a moment of tension between the two families. We go back to learn what caused this as we follow both the families leading up to this moment, the struggles they face along the way with two very different backgrounds being a white and black family in Mississippi in the late 40s. we spend a lot of time learning the little things from the lives which at times does feel slow, but this does get rewarding with the mindset of the characters by the end when the big event happens.
Settings – The film is mostly set in Mississippi which helps show the problems with the racial behaviour in the 1940s and the struggles with life.
Final Thoughts – This is a powerful thought provoking movie that shows us the problems that ran through America during the 40s.
Overall: This could well be an early chance Oscar contender for Netflix.