“Mississippi Grind” centers on the camaraderie that develops between two gamblers, Gerry and Curtis, as they travel through the American South stopping at every casino and gambling joint in the hope of winning big. The toxic nature of their friendship becomes increasingly apparent on their journey as certain revelations are made about both the characters’ traits, ulterior motives, and backstories.
Ryan Reynolds portrays Curtis, a charming, younger, and somewhat lonely gambler who befriends the older, life-weary Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) in the belief that the two have forged a connection deeper than their shared interest in gambling. However, Reynolds finds it difficult to see through Gerry’s real and greedy motive for keeping Curtis around: Gerry only sees Curtis as a good luck charm for his bets, the “leprechaun” who, as Gerry himself puts it, can lead him to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck –- the filmmaking duo behind indie darlings such as “Half Nelson” and “Sugar” who would subsequently helm the MCU’s “Captain Marvel” — “Mississippi Grind” examines how gambling addiction impacts a person’s relationships, friendships, and family, along with aptly capturing the exhilaration of winning and the lows of losing that a gambler experiences. The film was praised by critics for its subtle humor, emotional depth, and Reynolds’ and Mendelsohn’s performances, boasting a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).