Film review: Maudie (5 out of 5)

Maudie
Maudie

If I had access to the film awards for this year I’d hand over all the best actress ones to Sally Hawkins right now.

She has always performed well in various roles - very good in 2013’s Blue Jasmine and ideal in the 2014 Paddington film, to name just a couple from her impressive CV.

But in Maudie she is in just about every scene and is quite superb.

The movie is based on the life of popular Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, who struggled all her life after getting juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

However, her paintings became so popular in the 60s that some were bought by the White House.

After her parents died she was raised by her aunt in Nova Scotia but moved in with fish peddler Everett Lewis who was looking for a live-in housekeeper.

Everett, a shy and brusque man not used to sharing, has to come to terms with his feelings for Maud and the fact that she paints on everything she can, including the windows.

Ethan Hawke plays Everett and does well to show the subtle changes towards Maud over the years.

Director Aisling Walsh, who has done a lot of quality TV work, pulls together all the strands delightfully and we get a real feel of the often harsh conditions around Nova Scotia.

Looking up a brief biography of Maud Lewis, it seems like the film’s storyline takes a few liberties, but (I have to admit) I knew nothing about the artist so I just thoroughly enjoyed the plot.

Reecently, films like this always seem to show the real-life characters before or during the end credits but I’m not a fan.

These movies aren’t supposed to be accurate documentaries and seeing a brief black and white clip of the real Maud and Everett just took me out of the film when I was very happy to dwell on what I’d just seen.

The awards season is a long way off still, but I’m hoping the judges have good memories and London-born Sally Hawkins gets the credit she deserves.

Film details: Maudie (12A) 115mins

Directors: Aisling Walsh

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol