Juvenile arthritis awareness is in high gear – with Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month and two JA Conferences being held between July and August, this is the perfect time for director Aisling Walsh’s movie “Maudie” to hit theaters in most major markets.
“Maudie,” based on the true story of Maud Lewis, follows Maudie’s debilitating experience with arthritis throughout her life. Set in 1937, the movie begins with Maudie painting flowers on a wall with great difficulty. Sally Hawkins’s portrayal of Maud Lewis shines, as she next contorts her body to seem very small as Maudie sits smoking on the porch of her shrewd Aunt Ida’s house (Aunt Ida is played by Gabrielle Rose). Upon learning that the house will go under construction, Maudie is quick to find an opportunity as a live-in maid in a tiny shack with a gruff man named Everett (played by Ethan Hawke). And though rocky at first, the optimist and the pessimist, both social outcasts in their respective ways, begin a relationship.
Just as in real life, Maudie applies her love of painting to her new life, despite how painful it is for her. She paints on the walls, stray pieces of wood, furniture, anything she can get her exhausted hands on. And like the real Maud Lewis, she doesn’t let her disability stop her or even set her back. Maud Lewis went on to become one of Canada’s premier folk artists, and an inspiration to those both with and without this disability.
The film artfully depicts the story from beautiful shots and backgrounds to the amazing acting by Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. It is about showing, not telling. It’s not even revealed that it is arthritis that Maudie has until about two-thirds of the way in. But Sally Hawkins’s outstanding acting, through her posture and movements, shows Maudie’s arthritis even without naming the disease.
This film serves as an inspiration and a bit of an underdog story, depicting just how much we can achieve despite the difficulties and obstacles in our way. Sally Hawkins as Maudie accomplishes what she loves even through debilitating arthritis (stemming from childhood rheumatic fever) and circumstances as an outsider (a social reject). Truly, Maudie is a Champion of Yes, showing how to live a full life, despite arthritis or a disease.
You can see ‘Maudie’ in a theater near you. Locate a showing at https://www.fandango.com/maudie_196028/movieoverview .
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