Maudie is the latest film directed by Irish director- Aisling Walsh. This quirky little movie which was a hit at the Toronto Film Festival is a biopic of the life of Canadian folk artist – Maud Lewis. Maud lived and worked in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia. Although crippled from an early age and in poor health for most of her life Maud became beloved both at home, in North America and internationally by offering her engaging images to the world through her roadside- Paintings For Sale sign. This film slowly shows us her life, loves and remarkable positivity in the face of adversity.
Maudie is a gentle film which shows rather than tells Maud Lewis’ life story. When the grumpy, unkempt and rather reclusive fishmonger Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) places an ad for a housekeeper to look after his filthy one room shack on the edge of the Nova Scotia woods the arrival of Maudie (Sally Hawkins) changes his life.
This job represents freedom and independence for Maudie from her controlling family. Hunched over with crippling arthritis, the budding artist weathers the storm of Everett’s moods and often downright cruelty to forge a life with him and follow her passion as a painter.
Love, acceptance and respect blossoms between this unlikely pair with Maudie filling Everett’s grim home with her bright paintings and her sunshine bright personality. Along the way Maudie -the artist -goes from selling small cards at the roadside to selling paintings to Richard Nixon for the White House.
Sally Hawkins is breathtaking in the role of Maudie. She manages to convey Maudie’s humanity, humour and larger than life personality whilst showing this tiny woman’s crippling arthritis and deteriorating health. Her strength in the face of adversity, poverty and even at times domestic violence whilst becoming an equal partner in life with Everett Lewis is a joy to watch unfold on the screen. An amazing performance from Hawkins.
Ethan Hawke is suitably dark, grumpy and often monosyllabic in his role as the difficult Everett Lewis. He manages to show his growing love for Maudie in the subtlest of ways. His is a thoughtful performance which allows Hawkins to shine in the lead role.The excellent casting is one of the highlights of the movie.
The role of the tiny house cannot be underestimated. The blossoming romance can be seen in the transformation of the tiny, grey and squalid shack into a home where every surface is covered by Maudie’s brightly coloured paintings. It is a character in itself.
This movie reminds us that everyone deserves a little romance. If you’re anything like the audience at my screening you will laugh, gasp, cry and marvel at the twists and turns of Maudie’s life, loves and burgeoning success as an artist. Maudie is the story of two lost souls chasing love against the odds and their little story will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. Maudie is now screening in Brisbane and can be seen as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival.