Maudie (2016)

 

Cast includes: Ethan Hawke (Before Sunset), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Blue Jasmine), Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs), Zachary Bennett (Hacker), Gabrielle Rose (A Dog’s Purpose)
Director: Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy, Fingersmith)
Genre: Drama | Biography | Romance (115 minutes)

 

Huffington Post

“Did you tell her?” Charles asks Aunt Ida. “She has to understand this is her home now.” Maud compliments Charles on his nice suit… “You always were a spiffy dresser.” Maud’s confused though when her brother gives her a box of things from the house. “I sold the house,” Charles tells her. “Our house!” “Maud, you can’t even look out for yourself… let alone a house.” It’s like a knife through the heart… Maud’s only consolation is to paint. “Don’t make a mess,” Aunt Ida cautions. Maud Dowley is a little, crooked slip of a thing, who gives the appearance of also having IQ challenges. She walks funny and looks funny… at least, that’s what people in town seem to think. It’s no wonder she has so much difficulty making friends. While shopping at Shortliffe’s, she overhears a conversation between the Mr. Davis and an ornery recluse named Everett Lewis. “I’m looking for a woman… a house maid,” says Everett. He wants to put up a sign. Since Everett doesn’t read or write, he dictates what he needs… an lastly, “Must have her own cleaning tools.”

While the shop owner isn’t looking, Maud takes the notice. “Um, I’m Maud,” she says when Everett opens the door. She says she’s come about the job. “I need a woman,” says Everett. “What d’ya think I am?” she demurs. “Wouldn’t mind a cup of tea…. Is this all yours?” An amusing question, since Everett’s house is a very tiny one-room cottage with a bed in the attic. “You walk funny. You crippled?” “No, I was just born funny [severe arthritis]. It don’t stop me from doing the work of five women.” Everett isn’t buying it. His friend can’t believe anyone wants the job. “If someone applied for that job, hire them.” So Everett agrees to give her “a turn.” “You’re determined to put a stain on this family’s name,” says Aunt Ida, whose pride seems far greater than the family name warrants. But Maud takes her belongings and leaves. Things get off to a rocky start… “This is how it is around here. There’s me, then them dogs, them chickens… then you,” says Everett.

Maud continues to take comfort in painting cheerful little animals, flowers and scenes from memory. She paints on everything… walls, paper, boards, etc, and gradually, her paintings get noticed. She sells her painted cards for 10¢ each. Eventually, she marries Everett, but on his terms. “Whose in charge?” “You are,” she replies. Based on the true life of the Nova Scotia folk artist, Maud Lewis, this is a heartwarming story about perseverance in the face of extreme challenges. It’s also a tour de force for the two leading actors, Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. It would be hard to imagine this film without Sally Hawkins, who portrays Maud with grit, determination, humor and humanity. Maud rarely responds to anyone’s cruelty in the expected way… in fact, she always exceeds expectations. After selling a painting to Vice President Nixon, she becoming a bit of a local celebrity, to the consternation of Everett… but she perseveres. Be sure to watch the ending credits to see photos of the real Maud, her house, husband and paintings. “You can do much better than me,” says Everett in an uncharacteristic moment of tenderness. “Got everything I want with you, Ev. Everything.”


popcorn rating

4 popped kernels

The life and challenges of Nova Scotia folk artist, Maud Dowley Lewis

Popcorn Profile

Rated: PG-13
Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Style: Sensitive
Distribution: Art House
Mood: Upbeat
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: Unvarnished Realism
Nutshell: Folk artist
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Informative & Thought Provoking

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