Netflix is the home of some of the best shows on television (“television”), including BoJack Horseman, Stranger Things, and Master of None, but the streaming service hasn’t released an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-worthy feature-length film yet. There have been some noble attempts — Beasts of No Nation and Okja — but nothing that rivals Amazon Studios’ impressive filmography. That may change, though, with Mudbound.
Based on Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel, Mudbound is about two families, one white and one black, who reside on the same farm in the post-World War II South. The drama stars Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks, who gets to play a grumpy racist, instead of a lovable grump.
Mudbound premiered at Sundance to extremely positive reviews and Oscars buzz, but a bidding war never materialized. “I’m surprised it didn’t sell that first night,” director Dee Rees told Variety. “Wait, what the f*ck? It’s undeniable. The audience is into it. What happened?” Eventually, Netflix swooped in with a $12.5 million offer, but, “I feel like we were in the shadow of other films,” Rees continued, likely referring to last year’s Sundance sensation (and overhyped) The Birth of the Nation. “This film is certainly on the level of — if not better than — that. To burden our film with that was unfair.”
Here’s the official plot summary.
Set in the post-WWII South, Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and the battle abroad. The film is about friendship, unacknowledged heritage and the unending struggle for and against the land. Newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis, the McAllan family is underprepared and overly hopeful for Henry’s (Jason Clarke) grandiose farming dreams. Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture, meanwhile, for Hap (Rob Morgan) and Florence Jackson (Mary J. Blige), whose families have worked the land for generations, every day is a losing venture as they struggle bravely to build some small dream of their own. The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) forge a fast, uneasy friendship that challenges them all.
Mudbound premieres November 17.