MAUDIE — Review by Susan Granger

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Sally Hawkins delivers an exquisite performance as eccentric Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. Set in the late 1930s in rural Nova Scotia, Maud has been crippled since childhood with rheumatoid arthritis. Cheated out of her parents’ inheritance by her selfish brother Charles (Zachary Bennett), she’s sent to live in Digby with her stern, spinster Aunt Ida (Gabrielle Rose), who treats her as if she’s feeble-minded. Continue reading…

Determined to make her own way in the world, indefatigably optimistic Maudie spies a HELP WANTED ad in the general store and trudges several miles on a dirt road to the tiny, ramshackle cottage owned by surly fish-peddler Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) to apply for the job as his live-in housekeeper.

Since no one else will come near him, grumpy Everett grudgingly hires Maudie, although he constantly berates her, curtly telling her that his dogs and chickens are more valuable to him than she is.

Resolutely cheerful and creative, Maudie slyly finds time to paint while doing her chores, dabbing colorful flowers and vibrant birds on the shelves and walls of Everett’s 10’ x 12’ house, along with any scraps of wood she can find.

Everett’s verbal abuse of Maudie continues until, one day, a visitor (Kari Matchett) from New York City shows interest in buying some of her decorative artwork. That prompts enterprising Maudie to post a sign: “Paintings for sale.”

Meanwhile, Maudie and Everett get married, and she gradually confides shameful secrets from her past which, eventually, lead to a deeper understanding of her loneliness and need for independence.

Scripted as a simplistic biopic by Sherry White, splendidly photographed by Guy Godfree, and sensitively directed by Aisling Walsh, Maudie’s spirited plight strikes a poignant chord, culminating in a short clip from Diane Beaudry’s National Film Board documentary “Maud Lewis: A World Without Shadows.”

Along with Maud’s artwork, the Lewis’ little house is on display in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Maudie” is a simplistic, sincere 7, an improbable success story.


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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.