Sunday April 22nd 9:55 AM
United Kingdom 2017
Director: Francis Lee
Cast: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones, Ian Hart
Runtime: 104 minutes
Rating: 18A Note: some sexually explicit scenes
British Independent Film Awards: Best Independent Film; Best Actor (Josh O’Connor), Best Debut Screenwriter (Francis Lee) Best Sound; Edinburgh International Film Festival: Best British Feature Film; Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival: Best Film. 20 other wins, 30 nominations.
“Actor-turned-director Francis Lee’s indie hit conjures rough beauty from a rural Yorkshire setting, careful cinematography, and splendid naturalistic acting.”—Liam Lacey, Original Cin
Life on the family farm in Yorkshire is mostly about “getting on with it” for young Johnny Saxby, (Josh O’Connor) who’s plainly miserable.
His father has had a stroke so it’s up to Johnny to pick up an even larger share of the load of tending sheep and other chores. Johnny drowns his sorrows in beer at the local pub, with a bit of weed and casual gay sex.
But when a handsome Romanian migrant worker (Alec Secareanu) arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. As they begin working closely together during lambing season, an intense relationship starts to form, which could change Johnny’s life forever.
Director Francis Lee, who also wrote the screenplay, lets the story unspool at a leisurely pace and he’s chosen a fine lead in Josh O’Connor as the tormented Johnny, who soon meets his match in Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), who doesn’t let racial slurs like “gyppo” go unanswered.
Lee also has a fine eye for the majestic Yorkshire. It’s only with Gheorge’s help that Johnny begins to perceive the stark beauty all around him.
Combining gritty realism with poignancy, the result is a film that is exceptionally moving.