Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke shine in this true story of gifted, arthritic Canadian folk painter Maud Lewis and her unlikely romance with the reclusive Everett Lewis.
Bad-natured loner Everett (Hawke) places an ad for a housekeeper and doesn't know what to make of the applicant. Maudie (Hawkins) is hunched over with hands gnarled by arthritis, but she's eager to take the unappealing job. Gruff and boorish, Everett treats Maudie poorly, but she patiently chips away at his tough exterior. Her arthritis makes painting difficult but it's liberating for Maudie; soon, she's painted every corner of their house, and her paintings develop a loyal following that leads to her eventual fame. Sally Hawkins is superb as Maudie in a performance that transcends the physical, while Hawke disguises his natural on-screen charm in an unusual and distinctive role. Joyfully showcasing the beautiful paintings of Maud Lewis, Maudie is a moving celebration of the power of art and a tender, complex love story.
Hawkins' performance splendidly carries the day. With the cards stacked so high against her ever doing anything with her life and experiencing consistent rejection, Maud all but flaunts her gallant lack of any expectations; for this reason, she can truly and gratefully say, near the end of her life, that ‘I was loved'. – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
As played by Sally Hawkins, who taps into the same kind of upbeat energy she brought to her career-launching turn as Poppy in Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky, Maud impresses not so much for her perseverance — the opening scene demonstrates the enormous effort she must summon to lift brush to canvas — but for her indefatigable optimism. – Peter Debruge, Variety
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