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Maudie (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 105 minutes.

OK for children.

The true story of folk artist Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins) and her relationship/romance with difficult-to-like Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), the first 10 to 15 minutes are so dark and depressing I was ready to bolt. That I didn’t exit, however, was a boon because this turned into one of the best pictures of the year.

The film starts with Maud, severely crippled from arthritis and hunched over, trying to get away from an overprotective family. Into a shop where she happens to be walks Everett Lewis, a 40-year-old bachelor who is also an abandoned soul, and who lives in a 10 x 12’ house without running water or electricity. He survives by collecting scraps and selling fish. He puts up a sign in the store looking for a cleaning woman. Maud answers it and their unusual relationship starts.

The rest of the movie consists of a bravura performance by Hawkins and an almost equal performance from Hawke. As they live together in really stark, poverty-stricken circumstances she slowly, amazingly, becomes recognized as a world class artist.

Directed by Aisling Walsh from a script by Sherry White this is a heart-rending film to sit through but well worth it. Both give eye-popping performances but Hawkins, particularly, should be up for an Oscar®. Sorry for the redundancy, but Hawkins really blew me away.