There is a tide in the af­fairs …

God’s Own Coun­try is a love let­ter to the land, ro­mance

Vancouver Sun - - MOVIES - CHRIS KNIGHT ck­night@postmedia.com twit­ter.com/chrisknight­film

What if Broke­back Moun­tain had taken place on the York­shire moors? That’s God’s Own Coun­try in 11 words, as Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Con­nor) be­gins a tor­rid, dan­ger­ous af­fair with a Ro­ma­nian farm­hand (Alec Se­care­anu), who’s been hired to help out on his fa­ther’s prop­erty for a week.

We know from an early scene at a cow auc­tion that Johnny has a way of catch­ing an­other man’s eye, but that he isn’t much for talk after­ward.

We also see that he’s a hard drinker, with wicked hang­overs to match.

And he’s ca­su­ally racist, though not very bright: When he sees Ghe­o­rghe Ionescu’s dark skin he asks if the man’s a “Paki.”

Told that he’s Ro­ma­nian, John nods know­ingly: “Gypsy.”

But in spite of this un­char­i­ta­ble first meet­ing, some­thing sparks when they take an overnight trip to mend a fence; first rough, then in­creas­ingly ten­der. (And, just so you know, quite graphic.)

It doesn’t hurt that Ghe­o­rghe is a deft hand on the farm, able to help a sheep give birth, en­sure the sur­vival of a runt and even make cheese.

But while Johnny’s ag­ing par­ents are thank­ful for the help, they start to look askance at the way the two young men are get­ting on. So do the lo­cals down the pub.

Writer-di­rec­tor Fran­cis Lee is pri­mar­ily an ac­tor, though he’s made a few short films closely con­nected to his West York­shire home­land.

God’s Own Coun­try is a love let­ter to the land, but also to an un­con­ven­tional ro­mance, strug­gling against in­tol­er­ance.

SA­MUEL GOLDWYN FILMS

Alec Se­care­anu, left, and Josh O’Con­nor star as two men locked in a tor­rid ro­mance in God’s Own Coun­try.

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