May 2, 2013

Mud and Mark

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director For Southern Writers Magazine

What do you think of when you see this picture of a boat stuck up in a tree? Can you imagine what modern day Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer would do?Jeff Nichols, a native of Arkansas, has written and directed the film, "Mud". Matthew McConaughey plays Mud; his love interest is played by Reece Witherspoon. 

Nichols weaves a multi-faceted coming of age tale of two 14 year olds that makes for a unique and enjoyable two hours. It's the kind of screenplay that makes me research the writer to find out more about him and his influences. His setting is the river areas around Dewitt, Arkansas. Nichols was obviously influenced by Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer". If you are a Mark Twain fan, you will enjoy his contemporary spin using Twain's backdrop of the Mississippi River. 

Growing up on the bluffs over-looking the muddy Mississippi River, Mark Twain was required reading. I'm a Twain fan and have re-read his books numerous times. As I watched Mud's character evolve on screen I was reminded of Mark Twain’s, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, quote; "Human beings can be awful cruel to one another". Another Huck quote that is a primary theme of the movie is; "Just because you’re taught that something’s right and everyone believes it’s right, it don’t make it right.” 

Nichols put a lot of Tom Sawyer in his screenplay, too. As Mark Twain wrote in The Adventures if Tom Sawyer, "He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it--namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain." 

This movie has inspired me to write a story using the constantly changing fast-moving Mississippi River as a backdrop. Thank you for sparking my muse, Mark Twain and Jeff Nichols. 

Why don't you join me in writing a story using a river as your backdrop?

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