Movie Review: Mudbound

[The movie Mudbound is based on the book of the same name by Hillary Jordan. You can read the review here: Book Review – Mudbound.

Mudbound was nominated in 4 categories at the Academy Awards 2018: Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, and Best Cinematography.

Though I was hoping to finish all the movies in the 6 main categories before the Oscars took place, it was not to be so. Held up in a number of events and tasks, I was unable to watch them all. But I’m not off the journey yet and hope to finish these reviews as soon as possible.]

A booklover’s biggest pet peeve is when a book gets made into a movie and the movie does not do justice to the original story. There’s so much we complain about – the casting wasn’t right, the acting was the worst, the sets weren’t good, the makers left so much out of the story – so much! We just can’t seem to find it good enough for our beloved books.

Mudbound is exactly the opposite of such an adaptation. The casting is good. The acting was awesome. The sets were perfect. And the makers took everything from the story – not just the essence – and made it into an Oscar-nominated film. However, I have my reservations about just a couple of things in the movie.

While the book made me feel strongly enough to rant and rave about the unfairness of it all, the movie, I was prepared for. I knew what was going to happen. And the best part is that I felt the same anger, the same disgust course through me as did when I read the book. I’m not saying that my point of view changed during that time and this. I mean that now that the movie is as true to the book as possible, I feel something light in my chest.

Here’s what the movie is all about:

Henry McAllan and his family move to Marietta so that Henry can follow his dream of farming. His wife, Laura isn’t happy and neither is his racist and sexist father, Pappy. Henry and Laura have two daughters, Amanda Leigh and Isabelle. Henry’s brother Jamie is deployed in the Air Force in the War. On the other hand, we have Hap and Florence Jackson, black tenants of the McAllan family. They have 4 kids – twins Marlon and Ruel, daughter Lilly May, and their oldest son Ronsel is, like Jamie McAllan, deployed overseas.

With the return of Jamie and Ronsel from the War, a series of events unfolds that will bring these two families to a head.

The director, Dee Rees, has done a great job keeping everything simple and close to what has been described in the book. Everything that happened on screen, woke in me the same anger, even though I knew what was going to happen. And that is saying something. Maybe that’s what happens when you put women in charge. They will keep it as close to the original as possible. 😉

The casting is perfect in all stages. But in some places, while Florence is supposed to be a tall, strong woman, all that I found in her on screen was a woman who sat and looked blankly out of the window. A similar thing happened with Ronsel, too, though I can’t put a finger on what exactly made him not suited to the role. Otherwise, I’m happy with everyone else, including Hap, his kids, and the McAllan family.

A thought crossed my mind at the beginning of the movie. For a couple of seconds, I actually felt bad for the old prick, Pappy. And that is not what it is supposed to be. That man was despicable and deserved to rot in hell, whatever the hell happened. But as the movie progressed, they made up for it admirably.

All in all, the movie is a good adaptation of the book. It even almost made me cry. But whatever you do, you can never make a movie that’s better than the book. Ask any person who has read a book and then watched the movie, and they’ll tell you the exact same thing.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Flickering Myth.

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