Maudie, based on the life of one of Canada’s best-known folk artists Maud (Dowley) Lewis, is now one of my all-time favorite movies. Maudie (played by Sally Hawkins) begins life with a few handicaps including rheumatoid arthritis resulting in a hitch in her walk, loss of her parents, loss of her home to a greedy brother (more surprises from him in the movie) and in general a family who underestimates her. Maudie’s life is difficult at the beginning, but don’t give up on her or this movie, stick with it!
Once Maudie makes up her mind to take her life into her own hands and sets out on her own things begin to change. She goes on to live one of the most compelling, honest and loved lives I’ve ever seen portrayed on film. Her relationship with her life-long partner Everett Lewis (played by Ethan Hawkins) begins with her answering an ad for a housekeeper, it is hard to remember this is based on her true life. Once on her own she has the freedom to explore her passion for painting. She also develops an important friendship with a sophisticated New York City art lover (played by Kari Matchett) who believes in her work and is a catalyst in bringing her art to the world.
One of the magical moments of the film is when Maudie’s artistic gift is introduced to those of us fortunate enough to have this window into her intimate life. It all begins with a fingertip of paint on the wall of Everett’s cottage. That small bit of paint begins instantly to transform her home and her life, truly magical.
Maudie and Everett lived a long, happy and successful life together surprising their family, most neighbors and the international art world; it was a life well lived excellently put to film by a gifted director, screenwriter, and inspired cast.
Maudie was nominated for numerous awards, including seven Canadian Screen Awards including: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing and Best Costume Design.