On Saturday night, I went to see the film Maudie.
I didn’t pay much attention to the details of the film my friend texted me about. After all, she was proposing an outing to a film, then dinner out somewhere, and a glass of wine. As soon as I’d figured out the arrangements, I was in.
(The only bit about the film I registered from my friend’s text was: Ethan Hawke. No need to beat about the bush here. I’ve admired Ethan Hawke as an actor* since Before Sunrise. Just the right mixture of angst and brooding, with a twinkle in the eye.)
So it was a wonderful thrill to sink into my seat at the Arts Centre, somewhat giddy with excitement at being OUT OF THE HOUSE! and discover that the film – Maudie – was about the life of the Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. You’d think that the clue was in the name, but perhaps the prospect of just going out had distracted me.
Maudie is a beautiful film, directed by Aisling Walsh. I knew Maud Lewis’ work, and a little of her story, but the film was such a delightful surprise. Immersing and focussed and calm, it tells the tale of an irrepressible spirit. Maud Lewis (a totally brilliant Sally Hawkins) was a little different – maybe you could say that she looked different from other people, perhaps due to her rheumatoid arthritis. She seemed to find herself on the fringe sometimes.
The film’s a love story. It’s so beautiful, and I cried often** and laughed a lot too. It’s a quiet film with spark, humour and grace. It’s true in real life that Maud, small in stature yet utterly indomitable, married Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), and they lived in a tiny wooden cabin. Maud loved painting, and her joy in the action of creating came across strongly. She painted everything in that little house, decorating it from top to bottom with flowers, birds, cats, patterns. In time, her paintings, sold on the doorstep of the tiny painted cabin, caught the attention of locals, and then people further afield, and eventually wider acclaim came through TV features and press.
It’s said she never sold a painting for more than a few dollars.
Maudie left lots of spaces for the work and the story to just tell itself.
I absolutely loved it. I went to bed thinking about it, and woke up still thinking. The sign of a good film.
I want to go to see something else now! I love the cinema, especially indie films.
Want to come?***
You can look up Maud Lewis and discover her beautiful work here.
*OK, his rugged look has something to do with it, I’ll admit 🙂
**I cry at everything.
***You’ll have to drive me though. Can we go for dinner afterwards too?