+ high-res version

Watched: 14 October

Tender, warm portrait of the Canadian painter Maud Lewis, who lived in and worked out of a small shack in Nova Scotia for much of the 20th century. She is played here by Sally Hawkins, whose intense physical performance is informed by the artist’s struggles with rheumatoid arthritis, though there’s much more to Hawkins’ work here than contortions and pained expressions. The film concentrates less on her art, and the making of it, and more on her relationship with husband Everett (Ethan Hawke), which began after he posted an advert for a live-in house keep, though why he felt he needed one when he owned a one-room shack is anyone’s guess; more likely it was a not-too-subtle call for companionship. He seems prickly, cruel and miserable at first in the film, but the character’s iciness thaws as love blossoms, and Maud develops as a stronger character as her familiarity with Everett increases in tandem with her moderate success as an artist. A lovely soundtrack adds to a gentle viewing experience. (***½)


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