[3 stars]

A sweet, but honest tale of two imperfect people finding and treasuring an imperfect love with one another. In some ways this is an odd, and happier mirror to Big Eyes, though this biopic of Maud Lewis has quite a different tenor.  Sally Hawkins (A Brilliant Young Mind) and Ethan Hawke (The Magnificent Seven) bring the story to life in a quietly intense way that is full of humor and anger, but somehow always keeping their need for one another obvious.

Primarily a TV director, Aisling Walsh (A Poet in New YorkFingersmith) occasionally breaks out of her small box mode and delivers little, intimate gems like this one to the big screen. It is the performances she coaxes from Hawkins and Hawke, more than White’s script, that make it worth the viewing. The script, also much like Maud’s life, is imperfect. It is focused purely on the relationship between these two people in the harsh Nova Scotia coast town they made their home. It loses a number of threads where they touched other people or even how Maud’s art is received by the world. This is a gap not because Maud really cares, but because we do. We want to know. Some of these side aspects are implied, but some of it is pretty obscure.

See this for the performances and how well Walsh captures the era. And sure, see it for the sense of relationship and possibility, despite life’s obstacles.


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