Our first view of Maud suggests she might have some mental impairment; certainly she suffers from a physical one—her severe arthritis making it difficult for her to walk. We soon learn, however, that Maud has the heart of a hero. Rejected by her own family, she pursues her own path—finds a job when no one thinks she’s employable, gets married when no one believes she is marriageable and, most importantly of all, unlocks from within herself a talent for painting.
Here is a story that examines the human heart with great delicacy. The acting is superb. In the title role Sally Hawkins must surely be nominated for an Oscar. The performance of Ethan Hawke, as Maud’s husband, Everett, is almost as stellar. If one were to count the actual number of words spoken by Everett, they would be very few. Much of the story is told simply with body language.
The great writer Leo Tolstoy, in distinguishing art from other human endeavours, insisted it must be “uplifting”. By this definition, Maudie is true art. It is a tale of love and endurance which prevails even against the cold of winter, the isolation of a rural community and a marriage which is sometimes abusive.