Tuesday, July 25, 2017

[Review] Maudie

Sally Hawkins gives an incredible performance in Maudie, a genuinely heartfelt portrait of a modest Canadian folk artist named Maud Lewis.

In the small village of Marshalltown, Nova Scotia--we meet Maud (Hawkins). She's hunched, has a prominent limp, and is a bit peculiar. But what stands out is her sweet personality and passion for painting: flowers, birds, butterflies... Eventually, she gets job working as a live-in maid for Everett (Ethan Hawke), a grunty and distant fellow who lives in a tiny, rustic shack on the backroads.

Things don't go very smoothly at first. Early on, Ethan Hawke's character is so cruel and unlikable that it's difficult to approve of this situation. But eventually, the two form a mutual bond, and things lighten up as Maud begins to exhibit her craft, putting her charming touch on any canvas that she can get her hands on. Pretty soon, the town catches wind of her paintings, and the demand for them goes through the roof. So much so that Maud becomes a nationally renowned artist. With all the knocks at door, and all the money coming in, the dynamics in the household certainly shift.

Fittingly, the film itself is artistically shot, displaying some great views of the picturesque seaside town and its beautiful surrounding landscapes. It also captures the changing of the seasons and the extremities between the hot and cold weather, which is sort of representative of Maud and Everett's complicated relationship. It would be interesting to see a side-by-side image of the shack before and after Maud arrived, because she practically transforms the place with her colors. Sally Hawkins is absolutely fantastic in a performance that I think is Oscar-nom worthy, from her evocative expressions, to her impressive range of emotion, to the deeply-felt depth she embodies the character with. There are definitely some tearjerking scenes that stick with you long afterward.

This story is all about tough lives and how they're lived. How art can be an escape or a coping mechanism amidst the harsh times. And how little old Maudie made the world a nicer place.

* 8.5/10 *

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