Cannes gets happy ending with river film "Mud"

Sat May 26, 2012 8:35am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - "Mud", a touching coming-of-age tale set on the Mississippi River and starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, brought the Cannes film festival competition to a close on Saturday, earning warm applause at a press screening.

The film, which echoes Mark Twain and his novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", centers on Ellis - played by up-and-coming actor Tye Sheridan, who was 14 at the time.

Along with best friend Neckbone, he comes across the mysterious Mud (McConaughey) who is living alone on an island.

The boys discover he is on the run for a serious crime, but has come back to the area to find the love of his life Juniper, played by Witherspoon, whom he dreams of whisking away to Mexico by sea.

They help him to rebuild a boat stuck up in a tree in the floods, and are drawn into an dangerous race against time as the family of Mud's victim shows up to get revenge.

Director and scriptwriter Jeff Nichols admitted he borrowed freely from the novels of Twain.

"If you're going to steal stuff from somebody you should steal stuff from somebody really intelligent and I stole things from Mark Twain," he told reporters ahead of the film's world premiere later on Saturday.

"Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors and there's a scene in Tom Sawyer where Tom swims into the middle of the Mississippi River and takes a nap on the sand bar.   Continued...

Cast member Reese Witherspoon poses during a photocall for the film "Mud", in competition at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, May 26, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard