It's been ever such a long time, and now the wait is over at last for a film which I can thoroughly recommend - and moreover, this time no problems with hearing the dialogue!
Set in Nova Scotia, starting in the 1930s (and based on true historical characters), the ever-watchable Sally Hawkins is the eponymous Maud, a middle-aged woman who displays an unseemly awkward walk because of her living continuously with arthritic pain. She lives with her unsympathetic aunt whose attitude is largely framed by disapproval towards her niece who'd become pregnant many years previously. The way Maud has to carry herself makes it appear that as well as her physical disadvantages she might also be mentally retarded, though she's not. Through circumstances she decides to leave her home and applies for a newly-advertised post as live-in cleaner and housekeeper to an emotionally constipated fish-deliverer (Ethan Hawke) who lives alone in a small isolated cottage with his two dogs. She's the only applicant and he reluctantly takes her on but makes it abundantly clear from the outset that he's the boss who expects to be obeyed.
She starts to explore her talent at painting - on the cottage's inside walls and windows. Of course her action engenders conflict with her hirer. As the film progresses, her painting talents (mainly small pictures on cards) become known rather wider than the immediate locality, largely thanks to a kindly customer (Kari Matchett) of the Hawke character, and it's not long before he finds himself playing second fiddle to Maudie when she becomes something of a celebrity.
After their early mutual hostilities, it doesn't come as much of a surprise when witnessing how the relationship between the two main characters develops, but it's nicely portrayed, only once tipping over into outright sentimentality, so I can forgive the film that.
This is director Aisling Walsh's first major foray into the world of feature films, though she has already done considerable TV work. This project makes me hungry to see more of her cinema work.
Photography (actually mainly shot in Newfoundland) is superb. Music is kept to a sensibly unobtrusive level and the whole of the small cast could not be better, though it's the truly wonderful and believable Sally Hawkins who carries the film. I hope she gets at least the Oscar nomination she deserves for her deeply affecting performance in this unassuming, yet quite remarkable, little film.....................7.5.
1 hour ago