Juliet, Naked is the story of Annie (the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan) and her unlikely transatlantic romance with once revered, now faded, singer-songwriter, Tucker Crowe, who also happens to be the subject of Duncan's musical obsession.
1930's rural Nova Scotia. Maud Dowley, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, smokes heavily to deal with the pain. Because of her unusual gait from the arthritis, she is often mistaken as a stupid, incapable woman, that perception which does make her feel stupid and incapable. That view is held by her surviving family, her brother Charlie and her Aunt Ida with whom she lives. After an action by Charlie, Maud decides to seek some independence and is the only applicant for a posted job as housekeeper for brusque Everett Lewis, a poor fish seller. Despite not wanting to hire a cripple which only adds to their antagonism, Maud negotiates to get the job for room and board. Their antagonistic relationship ends up including Everett exacting beatings on Maud whenever she doesn't do what he wants. To keep herself happy, Maud begins to paint the interior of the house with happy pictures and paint similar pictures on small cards, these folk art pictures are how she wants to see the world. ...Written by
It's a long time since I've seen a film as affecting as this (principally because it isn't emotionally manipulative, which I always resent). Instead it just tells a simple tale of simple folk living in simple times, between whom love eventually blossoms against the odds. It's also a sobering reminder of how hard times were in the early 20th century in rural communities, where gossip and malice were endemic, people worked their fingers to the bone and there was no room for sentimentality. That very unsentimental ethos permeates the film, though of course in many cases it tips over into cruelty, and the cruelty Maudie suffers is at times unbearable. Yet for those tempted to walk out, stick with it because her life improves and she evens starts to smile a bit, once the art therapy kicks in. Take a box of Kleenex, expect to feel humbled (and never to complain again about your affluent neuroses). Beyond that, both leads (Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke) are great, and the photography of Newfoundland & Nova Scotia is beautiful, capturing the seascapes and landscapes in the brilliant light.
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