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Sally Hawkins in Maudie, photo courtesy Mongrel Media
Sally Hawkins in Maudie, photo courtesy Mongrel Media

8. Maudie

You probably haven’t seen Maudie. I almost didn’t. I caught this tiny indie movie when it rolled wider this July and kinda fell in love with it.

Maud (Sally Hawkins) suffers from birth defects, is hobbled by arthritis and belittled by a shrewish aunt. She seems like a creature forgotten—or, at least one that her relatives would like to forget. She eventually leaves her aunt to become a live-in housekeeper for gruff, antisocial fish peddler Everett (Ethan Hawke) in bleak, rural Nova Scotia.

She chooses a hard life. Everett can be as cold and angry as the Canadian winters that buffet their one-room, unheated shack. But in the midst of these hardships, Maud begins to paint: She paints the walls of their small home. The furniture. The windows. Soon, it seems like every square foot of the place is covered in primary-colored flowers and birds. She takes to painting postcards, too, and slabs of wood. And lo and behold, people begin to buy them.

In my review for Plugged In, I wrote:

We look at her from the outside and see weakness—her small, frail body wobbling from place to place. But when we get to know her, her inner strength unfolds like a flower. … We look at the outside of Maud’s one-room shack—a place smaller than many master bedrooms—and perhaps we’d be forgiven for wondering how anyone could live like that. And then we open the door.

Maudie’s a movie that, alas, few people will see. But it’s worth the seeing.

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