By Dan Clendenin

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Maudie (2017) — Canada

This wildly improbable love story is a tear-jerker in the best sense of the word. It’s a dramatization of the life of Maud Dowly (1903–1970) of Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s best known folk artists, and her marriage to Everett Lewis, an illiterate and violent oaf who was an orphan, fish peddler, seller of chopped wood, and collector of junk. The misanthropic Lewis lived on the edge of town in a tiny shack (10' x 12' in real life) and very much on the edge of society. When he placed an ad for live-in domestic help, “Maudie” replied. She suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. When her mother died and her brother sold the family home, she was shipped off to her bitter Aunt Ida. And so, two deeply wounded people start off awkwardly, to say the least, but find and make a deeply human love together. How she became a famous artist by meeting a woman from New York City in rural Nova Scotia is almost incidental to the story of their marriage, along with an important sub-plot. “You are the only one in the whole family who found happiness,” Aunt Ida tells Maud. The movie was shot in Ireland and Newfoundland, and was a favorite at numerous festivals.

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