Maudie DVD Reviewed By Jon E Clist

The Premise
An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community.

The Review
Okay so if you wanted to see a couple of Oscar worthy performances, this is the film to go to. Maudie tells the true story of an iconic artist of the past hundred years. Not because her art was amazing, although there is something rather brilliant about the simplicity and colour in Maud’s paintings. More that she was the example of being all about the enjoyment of doing art rather than doing it for any other reasons such as fame or money.

Sally Hawkins is absolutely brilliant in the central role of Maud. She so fully inhabited this character and was so very believable in all moments of the story. Of course, it wasn’t an easy role to grab hold of and she had to do stretching and yoga in the evening in order to physically and mentally get out of the character of Maud Lewis. During rehearsals, Sally Hawkins was painting three to four hours a day and had a dance teacher, a body movement person, who helped her study juvenile arthritis. She also had to practice her scenes without Ethan Hawke, who showed up on set a week before filming began, because of scheduling conflicts with The Magnificent Seven. Yet these two melded into this weird, dysfunctionally perfect couple that made you laugh, cry, angry and pretty much run the gambit of emotions.

Ethan Hawke said it was a privilege to co-star opposite Sally Hawkins; "I've had a few times in my life where you feel it's a privilege to be in the room, because you're the first person to see the performance. I felt that with Denzel Washington in Training Day. If you love acting and love what you do it's amazing and I felt that way with Sally, she's funny and brilliant."

Together onscreen there is this magic that helps to scaffold the story so that you are completely taken on the journey along with them. Ethan Hawke had me hating him, loving him, feeling empathy for him and above all just wanting him to make better emotional choices. That is an absolute success for Hawke’s performance.

So, alongside the Oscar worthy performances, this is an extremely well-made film. From the location, through to the script everything combines to smash out a hugely compelling tale. To nail the changing seasons, it was filmed in six weeks in autumn 2015, then returning at the end of January 2016 for the winter shoot. I can only imagine how hard it would have been to film in this little barn type house amongst the deep and heavy snow. The little house is such a central part of the story and you cold even consider it to be one of the main characters. The fully restored house of Maud Lewis is on permanent display in Halifax at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The decorated house was saved from deterioration by a group of concerned local citizens, that went through a 25 year-long struggle to maintain the house. With all that in mind, an entire replica of Lewis' house was built for the production so as to not damage the original.

The Verdict
Oscar worthy performances help tell the amazingly compelling tale of Maudie, a tortured artist who found love and fame in the strangest of location and situation.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 17th January 2018
Rating: M - Contains Violence & sex scenes
Duration: 116 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett
Director: Aisling Walsh (The Daisy Chain)

The Extras
The project was in development for thirteen years.

Maud Lewis also is the subject of the book "The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis" and the stage play "A Happy Heart: The Maud Lewis Story".

This is the first biographical film about artist Maud Lewis. However, a previous project was in development, with Rachel McAdams to play the lead role, which eventually fell apart.

The choice of director Aisling Walsh drew funding from Irish supporters, Parallel Films, despite the all-Canadian setting.

Sean Bean was originally cast, but was replaced with Ethan Hawke.

The real Maud Lewis posing with one of her paintings.
This marks Sally Hawkins' first leading role in a feature film since Made in Dagenham (2010), the first theatrical movie she has filmed after her first Oscar nomination, and only her seventh leading role in a film throughout her career (including TV movies and the short The Phone Call (2013)).

Sally Hawkins' name was the first one director Aisling Walsh wrote down to play the lead role. She says of Hawkins, "Sally can transform herself utterly when she takes on a role. She becomes it. That has been one of the most incredible things about this project."

Ethan Hawke accepted the part of Everett Lewis before even reading the script.

Reunites actress Sally Hawkins and director Aisling Walsh who previously collaborated on Fingersmith (2005). Walsh reached out to Hawkins who agreed to play the lead character, Maud.

Ethan Hawke based his character's grunting on a lobster fisherman he once knew.