"Hawkins and Hawke put in tremendous performances in Maudie, which warms your heart, leaves you with a smile on your face and a tear in your eye"

Films about characters with disabilities always seem to make that the focus and be an emotional tale of their triumph against adversity, so it is refreshing that Maudie isn’t about that. Sally Hawkins portrays real-life Canadian artist Maud Lewis, who suffered from rheumatic arthritis, but that is just a part of who she is and is not at the forefront of her character.

We first meet Maud when her brother Charles (Zachary Bennett) reveals he has sold off their late parents’ family home and she must remain living with their Aunt Ida (Gabrielle Rose), who treats Maud like she will never amount to anything because she can’t take care of herself. Maud soon proves her wrong when she replies to an advertisement for a live-in housemaid for Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke).

He is a stubborn, cold and a mean fish salesman who is isn't used to having company in his small house in the middle of nowhere but they soon learn to live with each other, and eventually fall in love.

This isn’t a biographical film about a person with a disability, it is a romance which just so happens to feature a person with a disability. Maud is the most upbeat character in the film. She is happy and constantly smiling and so content with finding love, being able get money for her paintings and forging a life for herself.

Hawkins is absolutely fantastic, giving an understated and charming portrayal of Maud and speaking in a convincing Canadian accent. She never exaggerates Maud’s disability, which is a challenge considering how Maud walks and how her disability gets worse throughout the years. She is well matched with Hawke, who also gives an impressive performance.

Everett tries to be the tough guy and keeps his emotions locked away but you can tell he struggles to accept her presence in his home after years of solitude, but then later on, he becomes worried she will leave him after finding local fame as an artist. He is not openly romantic and there is no dramatic loving gesture, but the little things he does are so touching because of how cold he was at the start.

The film covers a long period of time and a lot of their life together and starts to feel long about 15 minutes before the end so it could have done with a little trimming here and there. A lot of the scenes are not vital but it builds up such a wonderful picture of their life and they were so lovely, I couldn’t pick what to lose.

Hawkins and Hawke put in tremendous performances in Maudie, which warms your heart, leaves you with a smile on your face and a tear in your eye.