The Mudge Boy


Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2003 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Emile Hirsch, Richard Jenkins, Thomas Guiry

Non-Cast Credits

Michael Burke, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth W. Alexander, Alison Benson, Randy Ostrow, Vanja Cernjul


A thoughtful and evocactive journey, The Mudge Boy combines the powers of observance and understatement to render an emotional tale of a father and his son navigating the complex waters of life after losing the one person who bound them together,

When Duncan's mother passes away suddenly from a heart attack, he seeks refuge in his pet chicken and his mother's old clothes. His distant father doesn't understand strange manifestations of his son's mourning. Nor do the locals, who mock and harass him with cires of 'Chicken Boy." Slowly a bond beings to develope between Duncan and Perry, one of his tormentors with troubles of his own. Ducna's world takes a destructive turn when the lines between friendship and love become blurred.

Against the lush, green backdrop of rural farm life, a touching warmth emanates from Emile Hirsch's performance as Duncan, lending depth and vulnerability to the character. A finely etched and sublimely eloquent character study, The Mudge Boy is a modern American fable about growing up different in an often-cruel world.

Michael Burke's Fishbelly white won a Special Jury Prize at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, and The Mudge Boy is that rare film that touches the viewer with its humanity and the splendor of its craft.


Trevor Groth (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.