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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Maudie is a biopic about arthritic Nova Scotia painter Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins) and her relationship with her rough, anti-social husband, Everett (Ethan Hawke). Characters talk about a baby who was born deformed and subsequently died, and there are some non-graphic sexual situations. In two scenes, a man and a woman who are sleeping in the same bed try to have sex with one another but don't go all the way through with it. In another scene, a man hits a woman in the face; there's also some shouting, insulting, arguing, and lost tempers. The main character is a lifelong smoker who eventually becomes gravely ill with emphysema. Infrequent language includes uses of "arse" and "idiot." Maud is far from perfect, but she perseveres against many obstacles and achieves fame and success doing what she loves. At the same time, she continues to live simply, without letting money or possessions weigh her down.
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What's the story?
In MAUDIE, arthritic Maud Dowley (Sally Hawkins) -- who's living in Nova Scotia with her selfish aunt -- is shocked to learn that her money-loving brother has sold their family home. She answers an ad to become a housekeeper for a local fish peddler, Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), and, after a rocky start, she starts to fit in. He lets her paint flowers and birds on the walls of his small home (where she also now lives). A customer sees the paintings and, later, asks to buy some postcards that Maud has made. This eventually leads to widespread success; even Vice President Richard Nixon buys one of Maud's painting in the 1950s. Maud and Everett eventually decide to marry, but the extra attention being paid to Maud because of her art rankles the inarticulate Everett, causing tension in the house. But despite the many challenges they face, they discover that happiness is within their reach.
Is it any good?
Hawkins turns in a heartfelt performance as real-life painter Maud Lewis (1903-1970), carrying a biographical drama that's lovely and gentle without ever becoming soft or sentimental. Hawke matches her as the inarticulate, anti-social Everett Lewis, who frequently loses his patience but ultimately has encouragement and devotion for Maud.
Maudie isn't perfect -- it comes with many of the typical biopic trappings, especially the challenge of taking place over the course of several decades, with the actors increasingly being slathered in age makeup. And while the few supporting characters serve a purpose, they don't always come to life. But Irish director Aisling Walsh avoids making huge, unfathomable leaps in time and devotes her camera to small moments. She stays with the characters rather than focusing on just life highlights and events. Best of all, she manages to echo the themes of Maud's paintings, using windows and doorways as frames, mirroring paint colors to the things of real life, and watching as the seasons pass, each highlighting its own particular kind of beauty.
Talk to your kids about ...
Did you find any of the movie's scenes shocking or violent? Why or why not? How did the characters' angry outbursts make you feel?
Why do you think people were drawn to Maud's work? Can you think of any other similar artists?
- In theaters: June 16, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: October 10, 2017
- Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett
- Director: Aisling Walsh
- Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Arts and Dance
- Character Strengths: Perseverance
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some thematic content and brief sexuality
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