GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
Love and livestock… OUT 1 SEPTEMBER
The award-winning debut feature of British writer-director Francis Lee, this gay love story has already drawn favourable comparisons to Brokeback Mountain. Its setting is a remote farm in the Pennines, where taciturn twentysomething Johnny (Josh O’Connor) carries out most of the gruelling work on his own, since his brusque father (Ian Hart) suffered a stroke.
Enter Romanian worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), who’s been hired to help during the lambing season. Johnny’s initial hostility to the handsome newcomer, however, gives way to feelings of romantic attraction.
Like the recent The Levelling, the impressively acted God’s Own Country presents a bracingly unsentimental vision of living and working in the British countryside. Former actor Lee and DoP Joshua James Richards keep the sweeping shots of the surrounding landscapes to a minimum, preferring to hone in on the body language of the men while they carry out the seemingly endless duties of caring for the livestock.
Early scenes reveal the extent to which Johnny numbs his emotions through binge drinking and casual sex, which makes the character’s gradual opening up to real intimacy all the more moving. Tom Dawson
Newcomer Lee has crafted a timely romantic drama, rooted in a keenly observed rural environment.
FaceTime catch-up, Pennines-style.