is the true life story of Maud Lewis, a self taught painter who rose to fame despite all odds. It was the film chosen for the OPENING GALA at the 35th Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF).
It did not disappoint. In fact it was one of the most compelling movies I’ve seen in a long time. A hauntingly beautiful movie about suffering, unlikely romance and ultimately success against numerous setbacks, in a cinematic landscape.
This quote by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross best sums up the main character’s personality:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Set in Nova Scotia in the 1950s and 1960s, the story unfolds as Maudie (played by Sally Hawkins) crippled with rheumatoid arthritis decides to leave her family who have taken advantage of her personally and financially, for once and for all.
She meets a lonely reclusive fish peddler named Everett Lewis (played by Ethan Hawke) when he tries to hire a housekeeper.
The film unfolds from there as we find out how these two opposites fare in each others lives. Everett is a very difficult man and Maudie is determined to see it through with wit, heart and ART.
It’s okay to give away the ending because by now everyone knows that Maud Lewis became a well-known and well deserved folk artist whose paintings hang in the White House.
This film is an Irish-Canadian co-production.
Cast member Kari Matchett is Canadian. She plays Sandra, a woman visiting from New York with nice shoes, a nice manner and an interest in the art that is revealed inside the little house Maud and Everett live in. She commissions Maud to paint some cards for her.
The movie was filmed in Newfoundland near Trinity (a location I visited while in Newfoundland a few years back) so it was familiar. The real location was near Digby, Nova Scotia (another location I visited on that same trip). The remote scenery is breathtaking.
Irish Director Aisling Walsh along with two other female producers were there to help promote the film and answer questions from the audience at the very end.
I met Aisling Walsh in the lobby after the film. Everyone had a ballot to vote how much (or how little) they liked the movie from 1-5, with 5 being the highest. I told her that I would give it a 5 but it really deserved a 10. Also, I was a mess from tearing up so much it’s a good thing I wasn’t wearing mascara.
“Maud’s story epitomizes triumph over adversity – “Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
To find out more about VIFF or buy tickets please visit: https://www.viff.org/