The Mudge Boy

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"Duncan Mudge has a secret…"
  • R
  • 2003
  • 1 hr 34 min
  • 7.1  (4,652)
  • 62

The Mudge Boy is a 2003 coming-of-age drama film directed by Michael Burke and starring Emile Hirsch, Richard Jenkins, and Tom Guiry. The film tells the story of a young boy named Duncan Mudge, played by Hirsch, who is struggling to deal with the death of his mother, his disconnected relationship with his father, and the cruelty of his peers in his small rural hometown.

Duncan is a quiet, sensitive boy who is fascinated by birds and who enjoys dressing in his mother's clothing. He feels more comfortable around animals than he does around people, and his only real friend is his pet chicken, who he treats like a member of his family. Duncan's father, Edgar Mudge, played by Jenkins, is a gruff, emotionally distant man who is struggling to come to terms with his wife's death and is unable to connect with his son.

As the film progresses, we see Duncan's struggles become more intense. He is bullied by his peers, who mock him for his effeminate behavior and his love of birds. He also feels responsible for his mother's death, and he is plagued by memories of the day she died. Duncan's relationship with his father deteriorates even further when he discovers that Edgar has killed his beloved chicken, and in a fit of rage, he destroys his father's prized tractor.

The only bright spot in Duncan's life is his growing friendship with Perry Foley, played by Tom Guiry. Perry is a rough-edged, adrenaline-loving teen who takes an interest in Duncan, even though he is initially put off by his eccentric behavior. As they spend more time together, Perry begins to see the beauty in Duncan's unique perspective and takes him under his wing.

Together, they venture out into the wilderness, searching for rare birds and exploring the natural beauty of their surroundings. As their friendship deepens, Perry begins to open up to Duncan about his own troubled life, and the two boys find solace in each other's company.

Throughout the film, The Mudge Boy explores themes of grief, loneliness, and the struggle to find one's place in the world. Emile Hirsch's nuanced performance as Duncan is riveting, and he brings a quiet intensity to the character that makes him at once sympathetic and unsettling. Richard Jenkins is also excellent as Duncan's father, capturing the pain and confusion of a man who is trying to hold his life together in the wake of a devastating loss.

The Mudge Boy is not an easy film to watch, but it is a deeply moving exploration of the complexities of human emotion. It is a quiet, understated film that portrays the harsh realities of life in a small town while also celebrating the beauty and wonder of the natural world. With its powerful performances and hauntingly beautiful cinematography, The Mudge Boy is a film that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

The Mudge Boy
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 34 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (4,652)
  • Metascore