Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Maudie' on SWITCHCast
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, Maudie, Maudie, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Gabrielle Rose, Billy Maclellan, Zachary Bennett, Kari Matchett, David Feehan, Lawrence Barry, Marthe Bernard, Greg Malone, Aisling Walsh film rating

MAUDIE

★★★

A GENTLE AND LOVING PORTRAIT OF A INSPIRING ARTIST

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Daniel Lammin
30th July 2017

Artists are often the most unusual subjects for a biopic, mostly because their stories involve a tremendous amount of introspection, often integral to their artistic process. Most of the time, such films fail to find this delicate balance between narrative and emotional integrity when tacking these subjects, falling into comfortable cliché. It is possible to crack that inner life on film though, and Aisling Walsh’s ‘Maudie’ is one of the more successful attempts in recent years. While it has to rely on a familiar story arc, it finds its own way to make those conventions its own in a gentle, respectful way.

The film looks at the life of Nova Scotian artist Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins), her unexpected rise as an artist, her crippling battle with arthritis and most of all, her tumultuous relationship with her reclusive husband Everett (Ethan Hawke). During the 1930s, she goes to live with Everett in his isolated cottage as his housemaid, but soon their relationship develops - a relationship that is put to the test when the paintings Maud creates for her personal enjoyment begin to garner more attention that she could have imagined and than Everett is comfortable with.

A careful and considered film, ‘Maudie' sparkles with the same honesty and innocence that make Maud’s artworks so fascinating. While it would be easy to make a film entirely built around Maud’s condition, screenwriter Sherry White instead chooses to place the arthritis as simply a fact of life for her and celebrate her tenacity, self-preservation and inherent belief in the goodness in people. She is in no way a victim, either of her condition or her circumstance, and her relationship with her art is without pretentiousness - we can see it as a means of escape and expression, but she simply does it because she likes doing it, regardless of whether others like it or not. Her story also allows White and Walsh to explore the gender dynamics at the time, and how Maud refuses to comply with them in her relationship with Everett. Initially expected to play the expected part of wife and housekeeper, with Everett the pillar around which everything is constructed, she pushes for equal footing with him. This is initially met with resistance and violence, making the first act of the film often unexpectedly confronting, but the armour she has built to protect herself becomes her greatest asset in their relationship. On top of that, the film also explores and challenges views of disability and the expectations others have of those not able-bodied. This forms the emotional heart of ‘Maudie’, this woman’s search for her self-worth when others dismiss her as incapable because of her condition. When others don’t see her potential, Everett unwittingly does, forming the most powerful connection in her life and her only real support system.

'MAUDIE' TRAILER

The film rests on the strength of its characters, and Maud is a fascinating and unexpected protagonist. I wasn’t familiar with her work before the film, and I doubt many outside of the United States would, but this works as an advantage. Instead of being distracted by her legacy, we’re able to embrace her fully, supported enormously by the gorgeous performance by Sally Hawkins. She has long been one of the most quietly brilliant actors working today, and Maud offers her the chance to really demonstrate her tremendous skill, attention to detail, intelligence and humanity. At no point does her performance ask for sympathy, which only makes the effect of it stronger. She sparked every moment she’s on screen, and is easily the film’s greatest asset. It could not have been a more perfect marriage of character and actor. Ethan Hawke is also wonderful as Everett, as complex a character as Maud and possibly more tragic. His distrust of the world and desire to hide from it stands in the way of his happiness until Maud arrives, and Hawke has no problem exploring the uglier side of him. Their chemistry together is lovely, and you can see the mutual respect in these actors for their craft.

Instead of being distracted by her legacy, we’re able to embrace her fully, supported enormously by the gorgeous performance by Sally Hawkins.

As a piece of filmmaking, there’s a quiet brilliance to it, especially from the direction and cinematography. Walsh shapes the material into something wonderfully gentle, never rushing and allowing moments to sit and breathe. There's an understanding of both the external and internal landscape in her direction as well as in Guy Godfree’s beautiful cinematography, and how the two compliment one another, and while her obvious affection for Maud should be inherent enough to not comment on, in this case it helps to lend the film an almost magical quality. Like Maud’s work, there’s nothing self-conscious about Walsh’s direction, and an integrity that lifts the film further than a lesser director would have been capable of. The only distraction is Michael Timmins' score, the guitar sound the only familiar cliché that doesn’t work. It lends the film an unnecessary twee quality and often works against the drama unfolding. I suspect a stronger score would have made for a stronger film.

It’s hard not to be charmed by ‘Maudie’, even as it hits all the expected narrative beats. She is such a fascinating, endearing character, and the decision to focus on her more fully than what made her famous is a smart one that reaps enormous rewards. Sally Hawkins is radiant as Maud, and her work in this film will hopefully continue to build her reputation. Aisling Walsh has crafted a special little gem with this film that for all its faults, leaves you with a sense that out of hardship and heartache that joy, hope and love can sustain us.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 24/08/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 56m
CAST: Sally Hawkins
Ethan Hawke
Gabrielle Rose
Billy Maclellan
Zachary Bennett
Kari Matchett
David Feehan
Lawrence Barry
Marthe Bernard
Greg Malone
DIRECTOR: Aisling Walsh
WRITER: Sherry White
www.maudiemovie.com
MaudieTheMovie
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Maudie' on SWITCHCast 
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Who the hell is Bloodshot? - A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
TRENDINGWHO THE HELL IS BLOODSHOT?A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
TRENDINGMALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWERContemplating love and loss
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two - New villains, same problems
TRENDINGBATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART TWONew villains, same problems
Buckley's Chance - Not worth a chance
TRENDINGBUCKLEY'S CHANCENot worth a chance
Calm with Horses - A savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
TRENDINGCALM WITH HORSESA savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
Shiva Baby - A comedy of discomfort
TRENDINGSHIVA BABYA comedy of discomfort
The Glass Room - Stunning yet soulless
TRENDINGTHE GLASS ROOMStunning yet soulless
Some Kind of Heaven - A bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
TRENDINGSOME KIND OF HEAVENA bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Swallows of Kabul - Unflinching and gorgeously animated
TRENDINGTHE SWALLOWS OF KABULUnflinching and gorgeously animated
Cerulean Blue - Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
TRENDINGCERULEAN BLUEPromising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
La Dolce Vita - Not as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
TRENDINGLA DOLCE VITANot as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!