Tuesday, August 15, 2017


I knew that Maud (Lewis) was an artist and this film was about her, but my main reason for seeing it was to see Nova Scotia, which I miss. It turns out you see very little of Nova Scotia in the movie - Maud lived in a tiny house a fair walk from a tiny town, and all of the action happens in this very small part of the country.
But it is an amazing movie, so warm, enchanting even, about two quite eccentric people: Maud (an unrecognisable Sally Hawkins) and Everret (Ethan Hawke). At one point they describe their relationship with each other as odd socks, and identify the socks. She says she's a white sock, very plain, but he contradicts her, says she's bursting with colour and life. He's really gruff, but every so often came out with this kind of surprise which shows why she stuck with him. Their relationship has an unlikely beginning - Everett wants a housekeeper (the only qualification is that she must have her own cleaning tools) and Maud wants quit of her aunt, who doesn't believe she can fend for herself, let alone take on a job. Everett is obviously not a desirable employer: his mate is surprised there has been an applicant, and tells him to grab her. After a rocky start, she takes on the role of housekeeper but there's only one bed - the inevitable happens.
The cute thing about the relationship is that he takes on the role of being the boss, because he's the man, but she has the real power - he's going to marry her if he wants to do more than sleep in the same bed, and its not long before he's doing more and more of the house-keeping himself. Not that Maud is slacking - they have a bit of a tiff, she finds a can of paint and tries drawing some flowers. This takes off - her style is described as naive, folk art - innocent paintings of what she can see - flowers, chickens, other birds, the pair of them and so on.

Her art gets them on TV and even Vice-President Nixon buys one of her paintings. There's a funny scene where she and Everett go to see Sandra - a blow in from New York to whom Everett owes some fish. The three of them are standing on Sandra's doorstep, Everett is impressing on the both of them that he's the boss - until Sandra wants to know if Maud will sell her some paintings - that rather stole his thunder. Their relationship is rather neatly tracked by the way they travel together: at the start, she's trailing along behind him, but when things get going, he's pushing her in his cart.
But its not all sweetness and light: Maud has a debilitating arthritis, so gets more and more bent over and finds it harder to paint as the movie progresses. It also turns out that the deformed baby she had which died in childbirth did no such thing: when Everett and Maud have a big, relationship ending fight, his way of getting them together is to find the daughter. I have to say, there were several moments in this movie that I teared up.

There is another important character in the movie - the tiny house with no facilities they share: Maud starts out small, but by the end, every visible internal surface has been painted and there's a painting for sale sign in the window.



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