Review: Maudie (2016)

Maudie (2016)

Directed by: Aisling Walsh | 115 minutes | biography, drama, romance | Actors: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Zachary Bennett, Gabrielle Rose, Billy MacLellan, Marthe Bernard, David Feehan, Lawrence Barry, Greg Malone, Nik Sexton

Maudie (Sally Hawkins) is a young woman with arthritis who makes money in a hard-working fishing community in Nova Scotia by moving in as a housekeeper for a solitary fishmonger. This Everett (Ethan Hawke) slaps and rules naive Maudie, even letting her know that she comes after the dogs and chickens in the hierarchy. From the outset, however, it is clear that these people have never known otherwise, and so things can only get better.

Taaie costs, a bit in the vein of ‘An Angel at my Table’ and ‘Breaking the Waves’ – certainly in terms of main character. ‘Maudie’ is set in the 1930s and is based on the life of Maud Lewis, who was rescued from obscurity by selling paintings. Maudie’s painting in the film is presented as something casual, something naturally present in the life of this child woman.

Sally Hawkins is perfect for such a role, is so good at mimicry that the focus tends to be more focused on Maudie’s mannerisms than the character behind it. Is Maudie an interesting character? The effect leaves much to be desired. Irish television director Aisling Walsh doesn’t seem to want to choose. The director wants Maudie to be a caterpillar turned butterfly, while such a character – tormented by physical adversity and dependence – would have to take many more steps before emerging.

Walsh follows many genre lines – those of the classic country drama and the biography, with which her film threatens to become top-heavy and makes irregular time jumps in the small two hours allotted to us. Fortunately, as a viewer, you still get attached to Maudie and Everett, especially through the believable performances of Hawkins and Hawke. With beautiful camera work and folky soundtrack by Michael Timmins of the Canadian band Cowboy Junkies.

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