A Whole Lotta Love (For Sally Hawkins)

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Photo by Gerhard Kassner for Berlinale

Today I watched the movie Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. It was such a touching, thoughtful film. Sally Hawkins plays the title character, Maud Dowley. For those who aren’t familiar with Sally’s work, she is an amazing, amazing actress. She literally becomes the character she is portraying. Her performance as Maud, a folk artist who suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, was painfully beautiful.

I first saw Sally about 10 or so years ago, back when PBS had a Jane Austen week (to match the one that ITV had done in the UK). I had fallen in love with all of the films they showed. I don’t recall if I saw Persuasion during the Jane Austen week, or after. What I do know, is that I was struck by the performance of the actress who portrayed Anne. It was Sally who played her, of course. I had my mom buy the DVD of that ITV production of Persuasion, and I kept Sally Hawkins’ name at the back of my mind. I continued on through high school, didn’t really think about Sally again until she won a Golden Globe award in 2008, and then was nominated for an Academy Award a several years later. I wasn’t on the internet much in 2008, so it would explain why I didn’t keep up with what Sally was doing. Nowadays it is so easy to track an actor’s filmography and/or see what theatrical productions they will be in, especially if they use social media. At the time, I wasn’t interested in the productions that Sally was in. I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate them. I was too busy falling head-first into the world of Twitter, and obsessing over musicians I liked who interacted with their fans via Twitter and live streams. It’s funny looking back, thinking of how I wasn’t on the computer as much as I am now. Maybe then I would have known about more of Sally’s work.

Anyways, fast forward to a few weeks ago. I had seen the trailer for Maudie, so I had Sally on the brain. I then decided to watch a film called Fingersmith.  I was delighted to discover that Sally played one of the main characdters in it. I think it was Fingersmith that re-ignited my Sally Hawkins love. I don’t want to give too much away about the film, but think Charles Dickens drama meets adventure and intrigue meets lesbians. I definitely didn’t know what to expect going into the film– I had seen a recommendation for it on another blogging website– but by the end of the first episode, I had already ordered the book on Amazon. I usually am the “read first then watch” type, but the performances given by Sally and her co-star Elaine Cassidy were so incredibly touching that I knew I was hooked.

Looking at Sally’s filmography page on IMDB, I would say she has a lot to be proud of. I have only skimmed the surface of her filmography and even I have been moved by the few productions I have seen her in. She is truly talented. I really hope I can meet her someday. She has definitely tied with Olivia Colman and Emma Thompson for the spot of “Favorite English Actress” in my book. I think she is up there with my most favorite actresses in general.

As I mentioned earlier, Sally’s work in Maudie was painfully beautiful. I think that is a good way to describe most if not all of Sally’s performances. They are all beautiful, captivating, and inspiring, and she charms you through the screen. I am definitely going to try to watch more of her work.

 

P.S., check out Sally in the trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. Looks like it’s going to be good!

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