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“The Mule” is a Film About Choice

“The Mule” is a 2018 film produced and directed by the iconic Clint Eastwood, who also plays the lead role.  It stars an all star cast including Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Pena, Dianne Wiest and Andy Garcia.  “The Mule” tells the story of regret, and our in born need for redemption.

Earl Stone (Eastwood) by all accounts is a huge success in his chosen field of horticulture.  He is a WWII veteran and is seen as an icon by all his peers.  However, with his great success came great sacrifice.  While his family was growing up around him, Earl was too busy advancing his budding horticulture career.  Always too busy for birthdays and holidays with his family, but never too busy for an awards dinner or a congratulatory drink at the bar with his friends.

Now in his nineties, Earl Stone has lost his family.  With the internet boom of cheap flowers “delivered in a day” just a click away, Earl’s expertise, and purpose has vanished.  Earl is lost and in financial ruin.  His estranged family refuses to see him.  Earl becomes desperate.  He decides to work for a Mexican drug cartel as a drug mule.  He will be transporting cocaine across the state of Illinois to pre-determined “drops” where handlers will be waiting to distribute.

Facing little suspicion due to his age, race, spotless criminal record and strict adherence to all traffic laws, Earl was an obvious choice.  Earl is soon trusted with huge amounts of drugs and paid handsomely for his efforts.

Known as “Tata” (meaning Grandfather in Spanish) by his Mexican drug handlers, Earl is on his way back to redemption.  He uses his new found cash to help out his estranged family and tries to right the wrongs of his past.  He agrees to pay for his daughter’s wedding and begins to make amends with the family he abandoned years ago.

After his daughter’s wedding, the family begin to forgive Earl of his past faults, and Earl begins to insert himself back into their good graces.  Although they become suspicious with Earl’s new found wealth, they are happy to have the head of their family back.

When the boss of the Mexican cartel (Garcia) is murdered by his first lieutenant, Earl is kept on a tight leash and time schedule for all deliveries.  The new boss is not a fan of “Tata” and his disrespectful, laisse faire attitude.  He threatens Earl with his life if he is ever late again on a shipment.

Meanwhile the DEA is now on the hunt for the infamous drug mule “Tata.” The drama builds when Earl learns of his ex-wife’s battle with cancer.  When she (Wiest) summons him to her death bed to make amends, Earl has to choose between his career and his family once again.  With the DEA and Mexican Cartel hot on his trail, Earl chooses the only choice that can deliver him redemption.  But this time is it too late?

“The Mule” is a film about choice.  It is a warning of what can happen with the choices we make.  It also speaks to forgiveness, regret and the path to redemption that all of us must make to right the wrongs of our past mistakes.

Earl Stone was a bad father and husband.  What started out as a means for his family became an ego, pride filled career that left his family in the wake.  Earl’s transformation from the beginning of the film to its conclusion is a testament to the human spirit.

“The Mule” teaches us that it is never too late to be forgiven or to forgive.  Earl Stone and his family ultimately exemplified this fact.  I really enjoyed the “The Mule”.  I thought that Clint Eastwood and Dianne Wiest were great on screen together.  The film’s epic conclusion was the best part of the film leaving the audience with closure and caution.  I give this film a 3 out of 4 stars and appropriate for all audiences.

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