I haven’t read the novel “Mudbound” by Hillary Jordan from which this film is adapted, but I’m sure it’s a terrific one. The movie, co-written and directed by Dee Rees, is a powerful and emotionally-compelling one with themes primarily involving racism and family.
Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) and his wife, Laura (Carey Mulligan), are white farmers trying to make a successful farm out of uncooperative land in the Mississippi Delta. Also living with them are Jason’s father, Pappy (Jonathan Banks), and Jason’s younger brother, Jamie (Garrett Hedlund). Jamie was a pilot in WWII who has recently returned home. Also sharing the same land is a black family, consisting primarily of Pastor Hop Jackson (Rob Morgan), his wife, Florence (Mary J. Blige), and their son, Ronsel (Jason Mitchell). Ronsel has also recently returned home from the war. While he was in Germany, he had a love affair with a German woman. Ronsel didn’t experience any discrimination while he was stationed in Germany, but, once he returns to Mississippi, he is treated the same horrible way he was before he left. The fact that he risked his life for the USA doesn’t seem to mean anything to the vast majority of the whites living there.
The black family, except for Ronsel, is delighted to own some land, and – despite their being socio-economically worse off than the McAllen’s – they seem have a much better perspective and attitude about their lives. Jamie owes his life to a black pilot, so he is no longer a racist like his brother and father. Ronsel and Jamie strike up a friendship, much to the dismay of Pappy. They both seem to suffer from PTSD, although there was no treatment for this mental illness back then.
Ronsel is enraged about the racism to which he is constantly subjected, and eventually his bravado – along with some bad luck – set in motion a series of very unfortunate events. The acting is great (especially Mitchell, Blige, and Hedlund), and they all deserve AA nominations. This is one of the better films of 2017. It will certainly be in my Top 20 and probably in my Top 10. I consider it a MUST SEE! Even if you can’t drive because your car is “mudbound,” you can still see it now by streaming it on Netflix!