God's Own Country
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Johnny Saxby works long hours in brutal isolation on his family s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. An intense relationship forms between the two which could change Johnny s life forever.
In his debut feature, Lee has crafted a mature love story centered on an immature man facing the fear of even admitting that he needs love at all. It's a film to prize. --Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Toughness and tenderness duke it out to the bittersweet end of "God's Own Country," a transporting, wrenchingly acted love story set in the windswept wilds of northern England. --Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
"God's Own Country" weaves a rough magic from Joshua James Richards's biting cinematography and the story's slow, unsteady arc from bitter to hopeful. --Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
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This movie ranks high on my list for gay films, and the fact that it ends on a good note instead of having one of the lovers get captured, shot, caught in an explosion, beaten to death, forcibly separated, lit on fire, die from an illness, get killed from a long fall, or spontaneously combust, it won't make you cry yourself to sleep at night. You might actually *gasp* smile at the end; I'm not even sure if that's legal in gay films, but it might happen!
On a more serious note, the acting was great. The fact that the movie used real animals and the actors were actually the ones working with them, was very impressive. I don't believe I've ever seen that in any film before. At times certain people can be hard to understand due to accents and such, but I didn't find it to detract all that much. I just simply played a few parts back to compensate. The use of scenery, the animals, plants, fields and sky, really brought some wonderful visuals and showcased the true beauty of the natural setting. All of this, of course, made the movie believable and its characters that much more 'realistic'.
Overall, I'm happy to have paid money to rent this movie and in turn give back to those who helped create it. It's rare to find a gay film of this quality, and we need to support those willing to make gems like God's Own Country.
The emotionally fragmented Saxby family - grandmother, son, and grandson - are Yorkshire sheep & cattle farmers. The family lives an isolated and harsh existence, but none so much as the young gay Johnny Saxby (played by Josh O'Connor). Johnny is trapped on the farm by lack of options and family obligation. His father Martin (Ian Hart) is ill and unable to work. His grandmother Deidre (Gemma Jones) is ageing and trying to do her best to help out and hold the family together. The father's recent illness has created a gap so great that Johnny cannot cope with the workload during the lambing season. To fill the void the father hires a Romanian temporary farmhand Gheorghe (Alex Secareanu) to assist Johnny with the work.
Johnny has no life experience. He has no framework for tolerance, love, or tenderness - and few, if any, social skills. The arrival of Gheorghe unwittingly fractures his claustrophobic world and challenges everything he has previously known.
I've seen thousands of movies in my life and this one would easily rank in my top five. If you're weary of the usual fare of films being produced, give this one a try. It is something quite unique and special - and that doesn't happen very often.
This may be the first DVD I will buy just so I can turn on the closed-captioning to find out what they were saying. The Romanian guy wasn't hard to understand -- but I tell ya, those heavy Yorkshire accents, one from someone who had had a stroke, meant that I missed at least half of what they said to each other. I'm sure I must have missed key plot points, just because I couldn't make it out so much of the dialogue.
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God's Own Country is testimony that it is content, not form, that wins the day.
And always will.