Female Filmmaker Friday: Maudie (2016)
Sally Hawkins became well known for her performance in the Oscar-winning film The Shape of Water. However, Hawkins has been around in many movies prior. Happy Go Lucky, Submarine, Blue Jasmine, Maudie, and Paddington are just a mere few from her filmography. Even though I would adore to sit here and type away about my adoration for Paddington, I’m here to speak about Maudie (2016) directed by Aisling Walsh.
Maudie was never on my radar. I had not even heard of it until I was browsing Amazon Prime looking for something to watch. The first thing that caught my eye was the multicolored poster, then I saw who was in it, a cast including Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. Casting is a big thing for me and seeing these two really threw me for a loop because I could not really picture them working out together. I was fooled. An odd chemistry that meshes, even when the characters demeanors are completely opposite from one another.
Maudie is a biographical film centered around Maud Lewis (Hawkins), a Nova Scotian folk-artist. She is known for painting while enduring rheumatoid arthritis. After her brother sells their deceased parents’ home from under her, Maud has to figure out her next step, which has her shacking up with a temperamental fish peddler, Everett (Hawke), after answering his ad for a live-in housekeeper. Maud does everything for Everett. They butt heads along the way up to a point where Everett said that he owned her and bossed her around like she was a piece of meat.
After tensions diminish a bit, Maud releases a side of Everett that he had not expressed prior. The two fall in love (if you want to call it that) and eventually marry. Throughout their marriage, Everett is the breadwinner of the family and makes sure Maud knows it. A lot of this changes once Maud is commissioned to paint something for a woman from New York, who Everett owes fish. From then, Maud’s career takes off. Her art is unique and distinguishable and carries on to this day.
Segments in Maudie are very unnerving to watch, especially scenes that show the treatment Everett gives to Maud. Most of the time it involves domestic abuse in some way which leaves the viewer uncomfortable. However, there is something about this movie that is so charming. That twinkle in the eye is Sally Hawkins, her performance goes above and beyond. You get a glimpse of the real Maud Lewis after the credits roll, and you see why Sally Hawkins was chosen. She brings robust charisma to a character crippled by a debilitating disease. Even though life throws punches at her and she is continuously shot down by people in her family, she continues her strong relationship with her paintbrushes and is happy creating her art.
Director Aisling Walsh created a tiny little gem of a film that feels very underappreciated. Maud’s life was not an easy one, nor is much of the subject matter pretty, but Walsh makes Maudie worth the watch.
Maudie is available on Amazon Prime with a Starz subscription.