God’s Own Country (2017)

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A depressed young man struggles to stay sober while working on his family’s farm.  His paralyzed father is unable to work and the demoralized son is being stretched too thin.  In an effort to help pick up the slack, the father hires a temporary Romanian laborer who helps keep the farm running smoothly and cures the son’s loneliness.

It seems to be unusual to have an intimate drama that is void of violence or animosity, especially in today’s films.  Francis Lee did an excellent job with his first feature length film in crafting a deeply intimate story of depression that is both heartwarming and hopeful.

The intimacy is not just reflected in the love story between Johnny, played by Josh O’Connor, and Gheorghe, played by Alec Secareanu, but in the relationship developments within the family.  Gheorghe’s presence on the farm and the farm animals themselves support the family in coming together.  While the principle love story is the center of the narrative, the larger story is that of finding happiness in all walks of life, illustrating the hardships and rewards of farm life, and deepening the love and appreciation for Life and all that it encompasses.

It is rare to see a movie with as many intimate moments as God’s Own Country.  Not only are there several intimate and revealing scenes between Johnny and Gheorge, but there are many intimate scenes of animal life.  Scenes of sheep giving birth and caring for their lambs could only be done by filming live footage of sheep giving birth.  The honesty and realism is jarring only by its atypical nature in film today.

Rating: ♣♣♣♣♣

Directed by: Francis Lee

Cinematography: Joshua James Richards

Written by: Francis Lee

Edited by: Chris Wyatt

Music by: Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie

Starring: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones, and Ian Hart

Runtime: 1h 44m

Genre: Romance, Drama

Distributed by: Orion Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Picturehouse Entertainment

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