Monday, 3 July 2017

Maudie



We watched this Canadian film some weeks ago now, but I neglected to write a review, partly because it didn’t leave a strong impression on me. Which is not to say that it isn’t worth watching, especially for Canadians, and especially if you like gorgeous, quiet poetic films. 

Maudie, directed by Aisling Walsh (it’s been a record year for films directed by women, at least for films I’ve seen), tells the true story of Maud Lewis, a Nova Scotia artist (painter) who lived most of her adult life (1938-1970) in a tiny house in the tiny town of Marshalltown (near Digby) with a fish peddler who initially hired her to do housework. It was an unusual relationship between two unusual people.  From childhood on, Maud suffered from serious arthritis, but she never let it stop her from living an active life and becoming one of Canada’s most famous artists.

Maudie is played by Sally Hawkins, whose performance is nothing short of phenomenal and is, alone, worth watching the film to see. Ethan Hawke plays the fish peddler and also does a great job. The other major highlight of Maudie is the cinematography (it’s filmed in Newfoundland) which is stunning from start to finish. It was a constant joy to watch those performances and the camerawork, but unfortunately, for me, the screenplay was not powerful enough to match. Perhaps the pace was exactly right for the story it was telling, but even though I generally enjoy slow quiet films, I found Maudie a little too dull. To put it another way, Maudie tells an inspiring story in an uninspiring fashion.

Those who watched the film with me don’t share my views on this. They would have given Maudie at least ***+. There is much in the film worthy of that rating, but I’m going to have to settle for somewhere between *** and ***+. My mug is up.

1 comment:

  1. I found this a very unusual story. It's hard to know what to make in our current climate of a story about an abusive husband that is accepted and the "good side" of the relationship affirmed. Clearly the story is set in a different context than now. It raises the question of whether it was worth it for her to receive the love she did in spite of the abuse she had to put up with. These days we usually say no. I could handle the slowness myself and appreciated the local importance of the story, but I wasn't the biggest fan. Still a solid ***.

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