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Not recommended under 15 due to themes, violence and sexual references

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Mud
  • a review of Mud completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 22 July 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to themes, violence and sexual references

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Mud
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Violence and sexual references
Length: 130 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Mud is a coming of age movie about two adolescent boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) who find a boat that appears mysteriously amongst the trees.  The pair claim the boat as their own but soon find out that they are sharing the it with a mystery man called Mud (Matthew McConaughey) who has a troubled and dangerous past.  The trio forge an unlikely friendship as the two boys discover the complexity of Mud’s past and learn a thing or two about life along the way.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Murder; domestic violence; family breakdown; alcohol abuse

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of violence in this movie including the following examples:

  • Mud killed a man who physically assaulted a woman then pushed her down a flight of stairs
  • A woman is assaulted by a man.  One of the teenage boys pushes the man off the woman and punches the man in the eye.  The woman is saved and grateful.
  • A woman is threatened and physically assaulted by a man in one scene.  She is picked up by her throat, choked and then cut with a knife.
  • A scene near the end of the movie sees a gun fight erupt and many men are shot and killed.  There are scenes depicting the death of the men.  Children are involved in the shoot out but an adult is able to save them.
  • Throughout the movie the main character is hunted by a posse of men who are intent on killing him.  This builds suspense that is apparent throughout the movie.
  • The boys are given a gun (without bullets)

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned violence and by the scenes when one of the boys is bitten by a snake and becomes very unwell.  He loses consciousness and is taken to hospital

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and by the family breakdown involving one of the boys.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

There is some product placement in this movie, however mostly for American Ford and Pontiac cars.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • The two boys discuss sex and make reference to a girl’s breasts.
  • The boys are seen looking at Penthouse magazines however the pictures are not seen.  Comments are made about the pictures such as “check these out”.
  • Reference to a man always having sex to a certain song
  • Advice by an older man to the two boys includes the boys ‘getting their tips wet’ when they get their hearts broken

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • One of the boys flirts with and dates a girl 3 years older.  During their date they kiss.
  • A woman flirts with a man.  The two are seen embracing and kissing.
  • A girl runs out of a room where she has been having sex with a man (not seen) she is in a revealing tank top which shows cleavage

Use of substances

There is considerable substance use in this movie, including:

  • many scenes where adults are seen drinking wine and spirits, including main characters who are seen drinking in bars and alone at various points throughout the movie.
  • chain smoking by one of the main adult characters

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • bitch; ass; shit; tits; fuck; bullshit

In a nutshell

Mud is a coming of age tale about two boys who make an unexpected discovery and forge an unlikely friendship that is destined to alter their lives forever. The main messages from this movie are about the complexities of right and wrong, the impact of the choices that people make and the possibility of redemption. The presence of young teenage boys in the cast may attract children of a similar age, but the film is not suitable for children under 15 because of its themes, violence and sexual references.

Issues raised by the movie that parents may wish to discuss with older children include:

  • Mud’s redeeming elements and his mistakes.  Do you think he was a worthy role model?  Why were the boys not frightened by him?  Should they have been?
  • Relationships- what does this movie say about relationships?  What elements do you think are important to a successful relationship?  What mistakes did people make that affected their relationships?