The Mule

Theatrical Release: December 25, 2018
The Mule


The Dove Take

Story of elderly drug transporter is interesting, yet has strong content.

Dove Review

The Synopsis:

A 90-year-old horticulturist and WWII veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel.

The Review

Wisdom may certainly come with age. When someone lives a long-enough life, they have the opportunity to learn from successes and failures. They can make choices that are considerate, reflecting on what they have learned. Yet, wisdom is not guaranteed with age. There’s no grand ceremony where someone graduates to a higher degree of wisdom. There’s no certificate to indicate it. Wisdom does not always increase with the candles on a cake.

The Mule portrays age with a lack of wisdom. Viewers watch an elderly man—passionate for daylilies, gruff toward “the Internet,” and foreclosed on—get wrangled into transporting cocaine. And, his family has been affected by his unwise choices too, even before the drugs. Yes, The Mule portrays an elderly man transporting cocaine; yet, it is also the story of a man reckoning with his lack of wisdom, and maybe even gaining some.

The film’s style is often straightforward, with an interesting plot (which is based on a true story) and talented actors, but there are moments of clunky exposition that risk breaking some of the natural storytelling vibe. This could distract from some of the drama and tension, but the film mostly keeps its cool and frequently centers on spending time with the characters.

Though wisdom may not be guaranteed with age, The Mule shows that someone may not be too old to gain or express some.

Content has drug smuggling, strong language, sexuality, nudity, and more. Due to this content, The Mule is not Dove-Approved.

Content Description

Faith: Talk of Jesus seeking and saving is heard on a radio; a funeral at a church; crosses are seen and worn.
Integrity: The importance of family, as well as some other positive content, is an aspect, yet much is communicated in the tragedy of situation, such as a character expressing regret for not being better regarding his family; a character seeks to be loving/honoring, even when it may be dangerous for him; characters appear to cease holding the same grudges and bitterness.
Sex: A woman is instructed to take care of a man, with sex implied. Later, the man and woman are on a bed, and another woman joins them, taking off her top, and then the sound of the man’s trousers unzipping. Provocative and sexual language; two women enter a man’s hotel room and kiss and hug him. The women are seen leaving the hotel room in the morning, implying they all spent the night together; provocative and sexual dancing at a party; provocative, sexual and crass language and jokes; affectionate acts of romance and affection, such as a kissing and hugging.
Language: Jesus’s name is taken in vain three times; OMG-1: D-3; GD-1; H-4; F- is heard at least 28 times, once paired with “mother” and once with “a**”; B is said one or two times; SOB-1; characters say that a man would be “B material” in prison; s**t- 17 times, sometimes with variations, paired two times with “holy” and two times with “bull”; a**-4; a**hole-4; a group of bikers call themselves “D*kes on Bikes”; p**sed; pimpin’; a middle finger; cr*p; devil; characters utilize language regarding race and ethnicity, which, depending on the specific instance in the context in the film, may be offensive, insensitive, ignorant, and/or joking; other various crass, provocative, sexual, or offensive language and jokes.
Violence: Guns and shooting; a character is shot; we see a man’s dead body in the trunk of a car with a bullet wound in his head with a bit of blood; fighting; hit with a gun; an old man is beaten, and we see his bloody/beaten face; talk of violence and killing
Drugs: While quantities of drugs are seen, discussed, and a major theme, their use is not a major screen-time focus; characters drink, and make jokes about drinking.
Nudity: Very revealing and provocative swimwear/attire, at times the focus; a woman takes off her top and is seen topless.
Other: Illegal drug smuggling; characters use language regarding race and ethnicity, which, depending on the specific instance in the context in the film, may be offensive, insensitive, ignorant, and/or joking; the main character says some racially/ethnically insensitive things, though some of it appears to be from ignorance rather than seeking to be hurtful or overtly offensive; unkind and hurtful actions and language; a woman struggles with an illness, and we see some of the hardships, such as gasping to breathe; a character passes away; some emotional aspects/scenes


Company: Warner Brothers
Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 116 min.
Industry Rating: R
Reviewer: John P.