A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the latest bombastic entry from Vin Diesel and Company, “The Fate of the Furious,” the family drama “Gifted” and the romantic biopic “Maudie” starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.
Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the redonkulous new “Fast & Furious” entry from Vin Diesel and Company, “The Fate of the Furious,” the family drama “Gifted,” the romantic biopic “Maudie” starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke and the bizzaro “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea”!
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the latest bombastic entry from Vin Diesel and Company, “The Fate of the Furious,” the family drama “Gifted” and the romantic biopic “Maudie” starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.
In Maudie, a biopic of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis, Ethan Hawke plays Everett, the artist’s brusque husband. “You walk funny,” he says when he first meets her. “You a cripple? You sick?”
In other words, he’s not exactly a charmer.
“It’s always fun and such and such a great experience to get to play a character that audiences love,” says Hawke. “It feels really good but often to tell a really interesting story you have to play people who are badly behaved. I feel that as gruff and as unacceptable as a lot of Everett’s behaviour is, it is not uncommon at all of men of that time period. I remember my grandmother always accusing my grandfather of not wanting a wife but a maid. He’s somebody that in the course of that relationship learns how to love.”
As romance blossoms between them Maud’s art—handmade postcards, paintings—slowly gains fans, including Vice President Richard Nixon who purchased a landscape by mail. As Maud’s increasing recognition threatens Everett’s simple way of life their union becomes strained.
“I found that story really surprising and the subtle details of their internal power shifts, I thought, were really true to life. All long term relationships have strange power dynamics and the behaviour within the couple is always shifting about who’s in charge and in charge of what, and what that does to their love and how that changes.”
The couple is, as Maud says, “like a pair of odd socks.”
“I thought it was a beautiful journey to go from someone who was abusive to somebody who knew how to love and care for another person. That’s an interesting character to get to play.”
The script caught his eye not only because of the chance to play a complicated character but also because of his affinity for Nova Scotia.
“I bought a place in Nova Scotia probably in the late nineties. I’ve been going up there once or twice a year every since then. I love it up there.
“Through a friend of a friend they thought I might like the script just because I like Nova Scotia so much. They were right. Of course then they tricked me and the shooting ended up being in Newfoundland. I thought I could shoot this movie and live in my house, but I couldn’t.”
Maudie is a movie about small moments, an exchanged look, a caress. Like its real life inspirations the film is unpretentious, occasionally gruff but always honest and truthful.
“Most of us aren’t in giant espionage battles or helicopter chases. Most of us don’t need a superhero,” Hawke says. “For most of us the real events of our lives correspond around love. The losing of it, the gaining of it. How we feel about any given time period of our life has to do with that and I think it is very difficult to make love stories for adults because they’re very complicated.
“Arthur Miller has a great quote about how everybody is interested in stories about falling in love and getting married, or stories that start with a break up but end in somebody finding resolution but what is very difficult to do is show the actual relationship and I love this story for the messiness of the real life in it.”
“Maudie,” the true story of folk artist Maud Lewis, is a romantic movie about a physically challenged woman who found beauty in life’s simplicity.
Born with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that left her undersized and frail, Maud Dowley (Sally Hawkins) was shunted around to relatives in her youth. Told she couldn’t look after herself she was treated like an outsider by her family and rural Nova Scotian community. “Some people don’t like it if you’re different,” she says. In a bid to get out from under the thumb of her controlling aunt she answers a help wanted ad at the local general store. It leads her to Everett Lewis’ (Ethan Hawke) rundown one-room shack. He’s a man of few words, raised in an orphanage, now a loner who ekes out a living selling fish and chopped wood.
“You walk funny,” he says, unsure she’ll be up to the job. “You a cripple? You sick?”
“I was born funny,” she replies.
The circumstances are rustic in the extreme but for room and board plus $0.25 a week spending money she agrees to try and turn the shack into a home. To pass the time when she isn’t cooking and cleaning, she retreats into her art, painting colourful landscapes on the walls of the house. She paints flowers, birds and a portrait of their prize chicken—now a long ago digested meal—so, “we can remember his happier days.”
As romance blossoms between this odd couple Maud’s art—handmade postcards, paintings—slowly gains fans, including Vice President Richard Nixon who purchased a landscape by mail. As Maud’s increasing recognition threatens Everett’s simple way of life their union becomes strained.
“Maudie” is a quiet movie with nicely wrought moments. The excitement and joy that spreads across Hawkins’ face as she negotiates her first big sale—$5 a painting plus $1 for postage—is infectious and touching. Later, a muted but emotional reconciliation is heartfelt without being showy or obvious. This is a movie about small moments, an exchanged look, a caress. Like its real life inspirations the film is unpretentious, occasionally gruff but always honest and truthful.
Hawkins is remarkable as the determined Maud. Frail but indomitable, she is a classic movie heroine, a woman who succeeds against all odds. Hawke is a solid presence, gruff on the outside and, if not exactly mushy on the inside, then at least open to love. They are, as Maud says, “like a pair of odd socks.”
Director Aisling Walsh is unafraid to tug at the heartstrings. He sometimes errs on the emotional quality of the score, pushing towards the saccharine, but Hawkins and Hawke always rein it in before we get too much of a sugar rush.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. In “Maudie” Ethan Hawke plays a gruff Nova Scotian man who learns how to love. How brusque is he? “You walk funny,” he says when he first meets her. “You a cripple? You sick?” Not exactly a charmer. We talk about the film and his love of Nova Scotia. Then we go long with Ann-Margret, talking about her life, career–including a twenty-two foot on-stage tumble that almost ended her career–and her new movie, Going in Style. It’s all good stuff so c’mon in and sit a spell!