Spring. Yorkshire. Young farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.
Spring. Yorkshire. Isolated young sheep farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe, employed for the lambing season, ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.
I Always Get a Souvenir
Performed by Buck Owens
Composed by Tommy Collins
Published by Chester Music Limited trading as Campbell Connelly & Co
Courtesy of Buck Owens Private Foundation See more »
So much more than "The British 'Brokeback Mountain'"
That title is in no way an insult. 'Brokeback Mountain' is a masterpiece, one of my favourites. 'God's Own Country' is also, in its own way. A film with an interesting, if potentially not the most accessible subject matter, that ended up being one of my favourite films of the year so far and for me the film that moved me the most.
'God's Own Country' is a film where, providing that the subject matter appeals (personally think it is an important subject and not explored enough on film and treated very judgementally in society) and one goes in knowing what to expect, it wouldn't make a difference whatsoever as to what gender or sexuality the viewer is. Speaking as a heterosexual female with "gay" friends (among the nicest people personally met too). It took the festival circuit by storm and it's no wonder.
It's a beautifully made film, especially in the luminous photography and rich in atmosphere scenery. The music has presence but is never intrusive, even only being used when needed. Minimal dialogue proved to be a good choice and what there is of it was still thought-provoking and flowed well. When not with spoken dialogue, 'God's Own Country' really resonates. Showing the beauty of registering so much and inducing emotions when understated and very quiet in mood, with as little as small gestures, expressive eyes and faces and no words.
Francis Lee does a remarkable job directing, cannot believe that this is his directorial debut. There are not many great first-time-director films, even the very best went on to much better things (for Kubrick's first film was also his worst), 'God's Own Country' is one of them. Story-wise, the film is deliberate and understated but beautiful and very poignant, with a lot of nuance in how the characters are developed in compellingly real characterisations and not cardboard stereotypes. It is hard to pick the most moving element or part, because it was mainly how the quiet, nuanced atmosphere, writing and acting was executed and the beauty of it all, basically the little things. It is a very different and sensitively handled slant on same-sex/gay relationships, such as in the attitudes towards the relationship, and that was done in a way that felt real and refreshing, not an easy thing to get right when portrayed on film or television but this is one of the better examples.
There are also strands crucial to the character development, like with the father. That added a lot of emotional weight. The characters are interesting and the central relationship beautifully realised and handled with tact and sensitivity, spark was absolutely there. Are there clichés? Perhaps. Whether that's an issue in film is wholly dependent on how they're written and incorporated, neither issues here. Maybe there could have been more depth to why the change of attitude, agreed, but this only occurred to me after the film finished rather than bothering me while watching and the realisation hit that it was an insignificant nit-pick that wasn't enough to bring the film down.
Here in 'God's Own Country', one couldn't ask for better performances. Not just from the fantastic leading turn of Josh O'Connor, really hope he goes on to great things after this, but also the ever wonderful Gemma Jones, Ian Hart (with some of the best acting he's ever given) and Alec Secareanu in a role not as meaty but just as movingly portrayed.
Overall, one of my favourite films of 2017 and the most moving one. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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