Film Review: Maudie

An Exceptional Film About An Extraordinary Artist.

Review by Daniel Dercksen (30/8/17)

Rating: 5/5

If there’s one film that will change the way you see the world, it’s the superbly crafted masterwork Maudie from British filmmaker Aisling Walsh, featuring a consummate performance from Sally Hawkins as Maud Lewis , one of North America’s preeminent Art Naïve painters who showed people how to see the ‘bigger picture’ from her tiny corner of the small world.

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This profound exploration of a tortured artist and wounded soul will steal your heart and capture your imagination, showing how a woman living humbly in a 10 x 12 foot house in impoverished circumstances was consumed by artistic expression, and whose unique vision of the world outside her window enriched her life and those who were fortunate enough to enter her life.

It’s a rare film that draws you into the intimate mindscape of a crippled woman and spurned outsider who never became a victim of her disposition, but whose loving heart and kindness made the world a better place for her outsider-husband who shared her life, and now, through the honest and endearing screenplay by Canadian screenwriter and filmmaker Sherry White, the impassioned interpretation and vision of director Walsh, and Oscar-worthy performances by Hawkins and Ethan Hawke as Maud’s husband, we can share Maud’s uniqueness.

It shows how a woman who had nothing, and one who asked for even less, was blessed with the unique gift of being content, and whose creative instinct fed her passion.

Maudie is truly an exceptional and rewarding film about the ultimate power of love, loving who you are, loving those who do not understand the meaning of true love, and being  loved for what you give to others unconditionally.

It is said that ‘’ýou can never be alone if you love the person you are alone with,’’ and if this true, Maudie shows how Maud was happy being alone, despite her illness and was content with herself and where she managed to make a home for herself; she was equally pleased when she found love in the most unexpected circumstances and she embraced it with all the love in her heart.

Her world might have had a cloud of gloom over it, but her paintings showed the world to be a marvellous tapestry of colour, endowing it with her simplistic style; Maud’s paintings brought happiness into people’s life, just as her art rewarded her with a ray of sunshine.

Hawkins’ radiant performance is truly one where an artist takes complete ownership of her character; for the role and journey of becoming Maud, Hawkins, who was torn between an art career and acting as a young student, spend much of 2015 preparing for the role and took painting classes with an Art Naïve painter before filming and painted some of the paintings used on camera and when you see Sally as Maud painting.

There are times in the film where Hawkins is so brittle that you fear she might crack like a porcelain doll and want to help her along, but you know that Maud is solid and secure on her wobbling legs and that this tiny creature walks as tall as 10 giants.

It’s a performance that will not only steal your heart, but break it into a thousand pieces.

Ethan Hawke is equally mesmerising of Maud’s husband, perfectly bringing to life a man who did not know how to love and become his own person until a tiny, fragile woman stepped into his heart.

The films reminds of Hector Babenco’s brilliant Ironweed, with Mery Streep and Jack Nicholson as two unfortunate outsiders whose tragic romance triumphs despite all the odds.

What makes Maudie a really great film is that is never becomes indulgent or sentimental, it has an honesty that allows you to become a part of the Maud’s journey, and creates a profound insight into the human condition and humanity without clobbering you over the head with it.

It’s a significant and dignified film anyone who has ever felt the need to make a difference in the world or feel that they don’t belong, can easily relate to.

Watch Maudie and see for yourself why artistic expression in art and film is important in our lives. Colour your world with this wonderful film.

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