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Splendid Sally makes "Maudie" a delight

by Murtada

If you are a fan of Sally Hawkins then Maudie is a gift full of joy made just for you. Hawkins plays real life folk artist Maud Lewis, a smart lively woman who’s hunched with crippled hands from arthritis, as she finds solace and purpose in becoming an artist. Maud works as a housekeeper for a hardened reclusive bachelor, Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke). Of course she thaws his heart and they eventually couple up. The film is a two-hander even as Hawkins is its unquestionable center and beam of delight...

Everett Lewis is a recluse and social misfit who’s wary of and even downright hostile to Maud at first. She’s not easy either. She’s a terrible housekeeper and passive aggressively only does as she pleases. Yet somehow they realize they need each other. Hawkins’ performance is humorous and sly. Watch her face contort into mischievous glee when she hears the rumour going around the small Nova Scotia town they live in; that she is Everett's “sex slave”. Maybe she’d like to be? And she definitely likes shocking all the small minded people. The movie is full of such moments. Hawkins grabs and holds the scenes, not with overdramatics, but with humour and delectable gestures. Another treasurable moment is when Maud tries to guess how many oxen it took to push Everett's house to its location. Yes it’s that kind of quirky story.

Hawke complements Hawkins well but his character is so grumpy that his charm is mostly elusive. However we buy it because Sally sells why Maud is into him. Director Aisling Walsh manages to successfully merge Maud’s little world of Everett, their house, their chickens and dogs into her paintings. Maud’s inspiration is visually clear to us at all times. Those moments, coupled with Hawkins star turn, carry us through despite overbearing music and sometimes cloying romantic situations. Only towards the end does the film wear out its welcome. A ten minute trim would’ve gone a long way to make Maudie match the splendid performance at its center.

Oscar Chances: Hawkins deserves best actress consideration but will the film linger in memory for another 6 months? Doubtful. If Hawkins other central role this year in The Shape of Water is well received in December, Maudie could add momentum.

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Reader Comments (12)

I'd be so pleased if a Win happened for her,that 08 snub really stings now,at least she's not wasted holding papers like in Godzilla.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

That thumbnail alone makes me excited. Her wig is splendid and her face is so expressive and off-kilter in a really delightful way. I can't stop staring at her crooked grin! God I'm excited to see this now.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

Have always enjoyed her performances.. hopefully, this movie will resonate with filmgoers/

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commenternatalie

Sally Hawkins in a lead role is a gift we can't refuse.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

She was just so good in Maudie. I hope she receives some sort of recognition this year.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRod

Love Sally Hawkins! Ethan Hawke I'm very lukewarm on. He can be wonderful when directors help him access some vulnerability (Boyhood, Training Day), but that seems to be very rare. 95% of the time he just comes across as smug.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Golden Globes comedy nom?? The GG luvs Hawkins!! Whr all other major award bodies snubbed her. The GG awarded her best actress over La Meryl!

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Sally Hawkins is a genius and I adore everything about her.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Excited to hear that this film is finally out. I thought it would be one of those films that opened quietly and not benefit from a word of mouth momentum last year. Like you all, I love Sally Hawkins in her big role in Happy-Go-Lucky and in small ones like Blue Jasmine, Vera Drake, Never Let Me Go, Jane Eyre and that small small part in An Education. I have not seen Made in Dagenham yet.

I hope Maudie gains some traction during the award season.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

With the first photo, i thought it was the new transgender film of Eddie Redmayne...

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiego

Man, sorry to see the digs at Hawke's performance. Was hoping he'd be great

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

love sally so such in this! the fact that the film doesn't shy away from the rough aspects of her life is refreshing too. feels very real.

June 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPHIL

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