She was the very definition of an “outsider artist:” a young woman crippled by arthritis and living a below-radar existence as a housekeeper in a Nova Scotia fishing village, whose colorful way of seeing the world elevated her to the status of Canada’s most cherished folk-art painter. Just as unlikely, and equally compelling, is the bond between Maud Lewis and her employer, the relationship at the heart of the biographical feature film “Maudie.”
A 2016 festival favorite that’s slated for general release in the United States on Friday, the film from director Aisling Walsh gets a sneak-peek screening Thursday as part of a special series at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.
Showing at 7:30 p.m., the event is the latest offering in a long-running partnership between borough-based nonprofit Monmouth Arts and Sony Pictures Classics, the distributor whose president, Tom Bernard, makes his home in Middletown. Like the recent “Paris Can Wait” and many others, it’s a fundraiser for Monmouth Arts and its wide range of ongoing programs and special events.
Starring as Maud Lewis is two-time Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins, here generating serious talk of a third go for the Oscar gold. She’s paired with fellow nominee Ethan Hawke, as a small-town fishmonger with a frankly cruel and abusive nature — one who nonetheless becomes husband to the reclusive and (literally) shrinking artist whose bright outlook is forever at odds with the dull grays of her daily life.
“Maudie” has garnered some generally good reviews — but judge for yourself for a ticket price of $12 in advance ($15 at the door). Or, come for a 5:45 p.m. pre-show reception at Front St. Trattoria, with tickets to both film and reception available here for $45 ($35 for Arts Council members).