Life is messy. So is romance. Some movies portray both with a sentimental view or via rose-colored glasses.
The new film, Maudie, portrays the real life mess of both. Based on the life of artist Maud Lewis, the film starts in 1930’s Nova Scotia. Maud (Sally Hawkins) has lived with juvenile arthritis her entire life. Needing to escape the emotional confines of her family, she takes a job as a housekeeper for Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke). A gruff loner, Everett is expects things a certain way. Maud surprises him with her art, her outlook on life and her tenacity. Their marriage is something of a surprise, but somehow, they stay married until Maud’s death in 1970.
This movie is nothing short of a revelation. Directed by Aisling Walsh, the film could have been taken in the direction of sentimental mush with the predictable messages of love conquering all and dreams can come true. But thankfully, the film is not sentimental mush with the predictable messages. It’s a movie about how hard life is and how hard relationships are. Everett is an a**hole at points in the film. He is not the romantic hero by any stretch of the imagination. Neither is Maud the predictable romantic heroine. That was one of the things about the film that struck me, neither the narrative or the lead characters are what the audience would expect for a film that is essentially a romantic drama. That quality alone makes the film stand out for me.
I absolutely recommend it.
Maudie is presently in theaters.