Sunday, May 20, 2018

God's Own Country

Movie Name: God's Own Country
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Francis Lee
Stars: Josh O'Connor, Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones, Ian Hart
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
View Trailer

"God's Own Country" made it's auspicious debut at the Sundance Film Festival of 2017, and collected more accolades and good reviews when it was featured at the Berlin Film Festival of the same year. The film follows the story of Johnny, a young British man who lives on a farm with his disabled father and grandmother. Johnny is a man of few words, and tries to help his father and grandmother as much as he can, by taking on the projects that need to be tackled on the farm, namely with all the animals and upkeep of the fences, among many others. Johnny is also, somewhat secretly, engaging in some gay trysts with young men he meets at the bars (after he's sufficiently tipsy). His father manages to hire a young and quiet Romanian man by the name of Gheorghe, to come in and help out with the sheep. While handling the animals and far away from everyone, the two young men become romantically involved, even if Johnny has gradually to open up and eventually grow up to come to terms with himself and how is life is evolving.
"God's Own Country" is the directorial debut of Francis Lee, who has made a name for himself primarily as an actor (he can be seen in Mike Leigh's "Topsy Turvy" for instance). "God's Own Country" is his feature directorial debut, and shows a point of view that marries a heartfelt depiction of characters and situations, with a poetic realism of capturing the environment in which these characters exist. He manages to create with this film an intimate story about someone growing up emotionally, opening up, accepting responsibilities for his choices, and living his life plainly aware of them. It's a film that works so well due to the frankness of what it depicts, how it depicts it, without being artificial or contrived at any point. It's also impeccably acted, with Josh O'Connor, Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones and Ian Hart, all creating indelible performances (and characters). A great debut worth watching.