Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke star in Aisling Walsh's hotly tipped drama, a biopic of Maud Lewis, who despite suffering from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, became one of Canada's most celebrated outsider artists.
Nova Scotia, 1937: Maud Dowley (Hawkins) is living with her unsympathetic aunt until she sees local fish peddler Everett Lewis's (Hawke) ad for a housekeeper and, two social outcasts together, they form a bond. But her artistic talents are still largely unrecognised by the wider world until a visitor arrives from New York and, seeing one of Maudie's paintings, commissions one: beginning Maudie's ascent to a career and a fame that would eventually see one of her artworks hanging in the White House.
Eliciting performances of tremendous complexity and physicality from her leads (especially Hawkins, who appears in nearly every scene and delivers a really exquisite character study) and enriched by gorgeous imagery of Nova Scotia's coastline by cinematographer Guy Godfree, Walsh's film is a profoundly inspiring story of a woman who transcended both her disability and the social mores of her time through her art, as well as a moving exploration of the human heart.
Arguably the finest film of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory's acclaimed partnership, Howards End celebrates its 25th anniversary by returning to screens newly restored as a 4K digital print.