MAUDIE (115 PG-13)

MAUDIE

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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.

Director: Aisling Walsh
Writer: Sherry White
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Sally Hawkins, Kari Matchett

Closed Captioning and Descriptive Narration Available

REVIEW

Maudie (Sally Hawkins) is stuck in a situation that rivals the grimmest of fairy tales. Her moneygrubbing brother Charles (Zachary Bennett) has sold the family home, forcing her to live with their strict and unforgiving Aunt Ida (Gabrielle Rose). And it doesn’t help that Maudie suffers from arthritis.

But she refuses to let that get her down, occasionally staying out late in a jazz club and generally taking an upbeat view of life. That doesn’t sit well with Aunt Ida, and it’s obvious that Maudie needs to find somewhere else to live. Unfortunately, in a small Nova Scotia community in the late 1930s, her options are limited.

Hope emerges in the unlikely form of Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), a misanthropic fish merchant in need of a housekeeper. Everett isn’t particularly enthusiastic when Maudie answers his ad, but her sheer persistence wears him down. Still, he makes it clear that as far as he’s concerned she ranks behind his dogs and chickens.

Maudie isn’t much good at housekeeping, but she discovers that she’s a painter of considerable talent. It’s not long before her new home is something of a museum — and Everett has become far more to her than an employer.

Based on the true story of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, “Maudie” is a beautiful film about creativity, perseverance and the redemptive power of love. Working from a screenplay by Sherry White, director Aisling Walsh delivers a film as painterly and plainspoken as the artist who inspired it. The measured pacing and rich sense of atmosphere go a long way toward immersing us in Maudie’s world.

Hawkins, who is perhaps best known for her breakout performance in “Happy-Go-Lucky” (2008), is simply magnificent as the socially challenged but fiercely determined Maudie. And Hawke is a revelation, getting to the essence of Everett’s malaise and embracing his struggle to realize his best self.

“Maudie” is a work of art.

– Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post Dispatch

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