Tuesday, July 11, 2017


First time in a renovated room at Kendall Square, and it was kind of a shock - while the new seats aren't quite the super-wide ones with tabletops you see at Fenway and the SuperLux, they went all-in on leg room, so what was already the 'plex's smallest room now seats 40 instead of at least twice that many. It's weird, and I'll get to some concerns about how in another post.

Anyway, one thing really struck me while writing the review that I didn't give much thought initially (and which doesn't really show up until toward the end):


One of the things that's always lurking in the back of the movie is that Everett is an orphan who never actually left the orphanage. It's a thing that forms a certain amount of the basis of his connection with Maud; though she perhaps did not lose her parents early enough to be considered orphaned, she has lost them and has been more clearly rejected by what family she has. But while the film mostly tries to avoid clear turning points, I wouldn't be surprised if Maud telling Everett that she had been deceived about her baby being stillborn - Maud's brother sold her daughter - quietly changes his outlook. Maybe he's at least got the idea in his head that he might have been wanted but was stolen.


Maybe not; part of what makes Maudie more interesting upon looking back a day or so later is that the filmmakers are putting a lot of themes like this in place. It's how something I found kind of dragged for the first half-hour or so but which eventually felt connected in ways I couldn't initially see.


* * * (out of four)
Seen 10 July 2017 in Landmark Kendall Square #9 (first-run, DCP)

It's tough to make movies about people like Maud and Everett Lewis. As presented here, they're kind of slow, and even though they're not actually stupid, it takes a while to get to know them well enough for that to be clear (and they're never actually shrewd like you might like them to be for balance). It's easy to feel like the filmmakers and audience are exploiting them in the same way that one gets an itch that they might have been exploited in real life.

But stick around for a film that lets everybody settle in, and the viewer and the characters become part of the same community, and they start to make a little more sense. They've both been abandoned and hurt in ways that would lead many to walling themselves off, but they don't really know how to do that and recognize that they aren't entirely capable of being self-sufficient anyway, so it makes sense they find each other. They don't fall in love, but not in the way that it's an event with a clear moments of inspiration, but get there over time. Director Aisling Walsh and writer Sherry White let the audience suss that out by showing how images that repeat within different montages go from showing necessity to joy, or by inserting the occasional winter scene to make sure the audience realizes that this isn't happening over a summer.

It could, certainly; though it took many a year to make the characters who they are as things start: Maud Dowley (Sally Hawkins) is a spinster living with her aunt Ida (Gabrielle Rose) at the behest of her brother (Zachary Bennett); it's a responsibility neither aunt nor brother particularly want, but Maud has had troublesome arthritis practically since birth on top of just not fitting in with other people, leading them to feel she can't take care of herself. Still, she's at the general store when Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) posts a notice looking for a housekeeper, and even though he's a curmudgeon at best and lives in a fairly small, isolated shack, that sounds a bit like freedom to Maud and she takes the job. Once the accumulated mess is cleaned up, Maud's got a little more time on her hands, so she pulls out her paints and starts in on the walls, spare pieces of wood, and small cards. When she scrawls a bill for Everett's fish delivery for summer resident Sandra (Kari Matchett) on the back of one of those cards, the New York native is impressed and asks for more.

Full review on EFC.

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