3 1/2. Paper thin cliched story but rich visuals, lovely costumes, nice editing and solid acting by the leads put the film on above average status. Ending feels too Hollywood and it's a bit too long but overall, it's a fine film.
2.4 stars. It felt like a bit of a long haul to me, but then I struggle with novelistic films, especially those that rely overly upon voice-over. Valuable as a truthful portrait of racism and its toxic psychic fallout, but not massively compelling as a cinematic experience - at least, not for me. In short, I respected the message, but was not struck by its execution.
Dee Rees is a treasure and it's fantastic to see her move to a more grand style of filmmaking after Pariah, her wonderful indie debut in 2011. With Mudbound, Rees brings an important and very moving story to the screen at a time where America feels broken and the contents of the film are all too relevant in 2017.
Mudbound does everything The Birth of a Nation wished it could do: it nails its a period look and feel, it features rich internal characterization, and doesn't shove its ideology down your throat. Dee Rees knocks this one right out of the park. While the editing could have used more discipline, the look and feel of Mudbound is transportive and original. It's as deeply moving as it is deeply cinematic - a true rarity.