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(Based on the life of artist Maud Lewis)
To quote an old adage: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
That about sums up the life of Maud Lewis as told on screen, with Sally Hawkins giving an Oscar-winning performance as the arthritic Nova Scotian folk artist. She is sent to live with her uncaring aunt by her uncaring older brother, treated as an idiot, although she’s not as dumb as they all think.
Maudie answers an ad for a housekeeper by Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), an irritable, sometimes violent fishmonger who lives in a small, unkempt shack. He reluctantly takes in the “cripple,” treating her with less respect than his dog and chickens, at one point even striking her.
Maudie begins painting simple little objects, like flowers and birds, figures that are familiar to her, all over the house. A New York woman, summering in Nova Scotia, discovers them, buying little painted cards for $5 each.
While the story is about Maude’s slow rise to fame, it is also about her relationship with the man she eventually marries, carving out an unusual love for each other and life together. Maudie’s little giggles and perceptive observations are classic, making “Maudie” one of the sweetest, lovable movies of the year.
Rated PG-13, with profanity. At the Avon.