We were all very, very impressed with Sally Hawkins in Maudie (2016) but how many of us remembered that we had seen her before?
One of our number – Alison – said she recognised Hawkins from “Jane Austen films” which was sort of right as she played Mrs Reed in Jane Eyre (2011) (Charlotte Bronte) and Mrs Joe in Great Expectations (2012) (Dickens). Similar period though.
More telling in fact was not one of us remembered that Sally Hawkins was a 2013 Frank’s nominee.
One of us even voted for her to win Best Supporting Actress.
Still can’t remember?
Here’s a hint: Woody Allen.
Allen, as has been well documented in this forum, is the most successful director of female roles in motion pictures. Good actors and actresses want to appear in Allen films and either the casting company consistently gets it right or Allen is one of the best there ever was.
Happy to go with the latter.
In 2013, Allen oversaw an Oscar-winning performance from Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine and who played Jasmine’s sister Ginger, the working class wife who has an affair with Louis CK?
So the kid had pedigree before landing a career-best role as artist Maud Lewis in Maudie.
It’s widely said that if you want to win an Oscar, play someone with a handicap. Indeed if one wants to look into the Best Actor Academy Award, you find, since Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man (1988), “14 of 27 Best Actors tackled characters facing significant mental or physical barriers to what many consider normal life.”
We can even quote one of our own, last year’s Best Actress Frank went to Kiki Kirin playing the old lady with leprosy who cooks the magic sauce in An.
So Sally, go to the front of the queue. You’re a shoo-in for Best Actress.
Hawkins’s performance as the arthritic Maud, whose hardship and tragic life would make most of us buckle at the knees, was extraordinary.
Her ability to look shrivelled up, with legs that looked too slim to hold up a body, was enough but her range of emotions from happiness in the most obscure and trying circumstances and despair at where she will next turn was heart rending.
The character of Maud seems pretty contented with the way life worked out for her and Hawkins was able to convey Maud Lewis’s apparent wicked sense of humour and her understanding of love. Best was her talent to see through a window at pictures of life already framed. Her sometimes simple looking folk art offered a window into a world that few see.
Hawkins is strongly supported by Ethan Hawke as Everett, a gruff adult orphan, near loner who hires Maud to be his housekeeper in a Nova Scotian fishing village. Hawke grunts his way through the movie, from strict overseer at first to loving husband at end. He was superb.
The film, directed by Irish-born Aisling Walsh, a young veteran of TV direction, was shot in Ireland and other parts of Canada.
– More on Maud Lewis at https://www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca/maud-lewis
– Club members loved the soundtrack and can do further research on Michael Timmins at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0863683/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cr17
FOOTNOTE: Sally Hawkins was not even nominated for an Academy Award that year.