August 14, 2017

Review, Theatrical, This Week Leave a Comment

...equal parts engrossingly tragic and joyful.


Will Tentindo
Year: 2017
Rating: PG
Director: Aisling Walsh

Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Zacharry Bennett

Distributor: Transmission
Released: August 24, 2017
Running Time: 116 minutes
Worth: $18.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

…equal parts engrossingly tragic and joyful.


A warm movie set against the cold background of Nova Scotia, Maudie is an intimate homage to the life of Canadian painter and unwavering optimist, Maud Lewis.

Lewis suffered from rheumatoid arthritis from childhood, and the juxtaposition of Maud Lewis’ beautifully optimistic personality, exemplified in her artwork, and her sad life is where the film truly digs up its most emotional moments.

For those unfamiliar with Lewis’ oeuvre, the film provides a wonderful story of an exceptional woman that lived her life carefree of the obstacles thrown at her. The screenplay by Sherry White is accessible to those unfamiliar with the artist and allows for rich performances by the leading cast, Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke as Maud and Everett Lewis, respectively, that give insight into the day-to-day life and hardships of the Lewises.

Maudie tells the story of the invincibly optimistic painter and her gruff husband. Their relationship is difficult at times to watch unfold, but the actors’ performances save the movie from falling completely into despair.

Hawkins’ performance is award-worthy. Her commitment to the unique mannerisms of the character go beyond a mimic of the artist’s disability. Hawkins’ performance comes from an emotional place and manifests itself within the confines of Lewis’ body, giving more depth to an already intimate film.

Hawke is unrecognisable as the jaded and demanding Everett Lewis, Maud’s boss-turned-husband. Hawke’s performance of an insensitive man is, conversely, deeply sensitive. The rest of the cast allow Hawkins to shine as the lead, especially Kari Matchett as Sandra, the New Yorker that is depicted as the first to ask for Maud’s paintings and a friend to Maud during the film’s emotional climax.

Director Aisling Walsh gives Maudie an appearance evocative of the artist’s work, going beyond the script to show the world in a way Lewis may have seen it; it’s as if the film is picked from the mind of Maud Lewis, which is perhaps why it is so warm and inviting. The musical score and composition, for example, take away some of the emotional heft and allow the film to breathe during the happier moments. The film is drawn out and, despite being charmingly quaint at the start, begins to drag on to a slow, yet fulfilling, finale.

Maudie is not a romantic movie, despite being about a long relationship. It is inspiring and beautiful, but the life of Maud Lewis as depicted onscreen is anything but happy. A woman cast aside in her life and celebrated mainly after her death, her story is equal parts engrossingly tragic and joyful.


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