At first glance it’s a charming, feelgood story. This Etsy-cutesy drama based on the life of the Canadian outsider artist Maud Lewis (1903-70) tells the tale of a woman betrayed by her family, all but written off by society, who found solace in a can of paint. Maud (Sally Hawkins in a tremulous performance), channelled her compulsion to create into a cottage industry, selling her appealingly naive postcards and decorated boards to day-tripping city sophisticates. She was celebrated in the press. President Nixon owned a piece of her work.
But central to her life, and to this film by Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy), is Maud’s relationship with her husband, itinerant fish pedlar Everett Lewis (a guttural, somewhat moth-eaten Ethan Hawke). And this is where Maudie wanders into more questionable territory.