Free State of Jones (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes

Free State of Jones2016

Free State of Jones (2016)



Critic Consensus: Free State of Jones has the noblest of intentions, but they aren't enough to make up for its stilted treatment of a fascinating real-life story.

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Directed by four-time Oscar (R) nominee Gary Ross and starring Oscar (R) winner Matthew McConaughey, Free State of Jones is an epic action-drama set during the Civil War, and tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.

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Matthew McConaughey
as Newton Knight
Keri Russell
as Serena Knight
Mahershala Ali
as Moses Washington
Liza J. Bennett
as Junie Lee
Christopher Berry
as Jasper Collins
Wayne Pére
as Col. Robert Lowry
Bill Tangradi
as Lt. Barbour
Brian Lee Franklin
as Davis Knight
Kerry Cahill
as Mary/Yeoman Farmer
Joe Chrest
as James Eakins
Troy Hogan
as George
Cade Mansfield Cooksey
as Older Coleman Brother
Dave Jensen
as Defense Attorney
Jim Kelly
as Court Clerk
Rhonda Dents
as Mabel Ely
David Maldonado
as Polling Station Clerk
John Neisler
as Leonidas Polk
Jane McNeil
as Woman in Courtroom
Sharon Landry
as Mrs. Coleman
Kurt Krause
as Injured Soldier
Andrew Petrotta
as Union Official
Joseph Hosey
as Joseph Collins
Henry Frost
as Orderly/Crying Soldier
PJ Marshall
as Sergeant Battlefield
Lucy Faust
as Second Woman/Yeoman Farmer
Lara Grice
as Mrs. Eakins
Kylen Davis
as Boy/Alice Hotel
Kesha Bullard
as Moses' Wife
Jackson Beals
as Overseer
Sam Malone
as Cotton Field Worker
Garrett Kruithof
as Second Man
Jim Klock
as Farmer
Stella Allen
as Yeoman Girl
Camden Flowers
as Yeoman Girl
Carsen Flowers
as Yeoman Girl
Jason Ament
as Lt. Jensen
Kirk Bovill
as Merchant
Matthew Lintz
as Younger Coleman Brother
Mattie Liptak
as Daniel Whitehead
Trace Masters
as Newt's Son
Samantha Hopkins
as Eakins Daughter
Joe Girard
as Joseph
Ann Hamilton
as Susie Mae
Brandon Hartley
as Bearded Soldier
Ethan Lee
as Barbour's Wagon Driver
Paul Alan Webb
as Barn Farmer
Manny Penton
as Surgeon
Franny Levenstein
as Cornfield Woman
Monique Bilbo
as Cornfield Woman
Shelby Sanders
as Eakins Daughter
Melanie Hebert
as Eakins' Daughter
James G. Hanifen
as Hardware Store Clerk
Julia Holt
as Shrieking Woman
Gary Grubbs
as Prosecutor
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News & Interviews for Free State of Jones

Critic Reviews for Free State of Jones

All Critics (191) | Top Critics (59)

Because Free State of Jones concentrates so singularly on making [Matthew] McConaughey the hero of the film, it ends up being a series of missed opportunities.

September 26, 2017 | Full Review…

While all the performances are solid, there's too much of a distance from the setting of the story to truly create an immersive experience between the audience and the film.

March 21, 2017 | Rating: C | Full Review…

A surprisingly enlightening film.

November 8, 2016 | Full Review…

Free State of Jones stars Matthew McConaughey, with his smooth Southern lilt and cool demeanour, as Newton Knight, a battle-weary Confederate soldier who deserts, deciding that he no longer wants to fight for the rights of slave owners.

October 10, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A fascinating and genuinely important period in American history is underserved here by an inelegant structure and unwieldy running time.

October 2, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Free State Of Jones is an American Civil War-era saga that would surely have worked better as a box set TV drama than as a feature film. There is just too much information to pack in.

September 30, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Free State of Jones

Sometimes in a enervatingly slowly pace, this film tells a pretty fascinating, untold story. There are moments of brilliance, but while some parts drag out forever, others feel rushed. In the end, a lot of developments are merely covered in text captions. Overall a decent attempt that could have had even more of an emotional impact with a more condensed script. McConaughey is not to blame, he delivers the goods, as always.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


Matthew McConaughey stars in the extraordinarily compelling biopic the Free State of Jones. The film follows the life of Newt Knight, a medic in the Confederate Army who deserted to protect his hometown from looters and ended up leading a rebellion made up of deserters and runaway slaves. McConaughey gives an excellent performance and brings a lot of charisma to the film. However, the storytelling is a bit problematic, as it takes on too much; skipping around a lot and working in a subplot about Newt's great-grandson. However, the production values are especially good, giving an authentic look and feel for the time period. And the drama is really intense and exciting. Free State of Jones has a few problems, but overall it's a compelling film about a fascinating piece of American history.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

"Free State of Jones" is an interesting history lesson -- although lacking the panache and dynamism of an actual history lesson. The script is plodding and unfocued, and the story is puzzlingly episodic. The costumes and locations are good, but McConaughey oozes contemporary morality and seems ill-suited for this period piece. The only noticably good acting was from Mahershala Ali. The film might have as lief been entitled "Talent-Free State of Jones". Spend your ticket money on popcorn and just hang out in the theater lobby, kids. This one's a stinker.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

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