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Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) is one of those Bri­tish ac­tors who is so good most peo­ple here don’t even know who she is. In this film, in­spired by the life of Maud Lewis (1903-1970), she gives an Os­car-cal­iber per­for­mance as the Nova Sco­tia folk artist whose hand-painted cards sell for nick­els and dimes, mostly to the clients of her fish-ped­dler hus­band (a very good Ethan Hawke). Even­tu­ally she moves on to paint­ings, and her price rock­ets to $5, and then $10. Lo­cal tele­vi­sion does a story on her, and every­one, in­clud­ing Lewis, be­gins to show her a lit­tle re­spect. Gnarled and scrunched from child­hood rheuma­toid arthri­tis, Maudie main­tains a cheer­ful de­meanor. As much as it is the story of her paint­ing, direc­tor Ais­ling Walsh’s biopic is about sur­vival and pos­i­tiv­ity in the face of crip­pling ad­ver­sity. The real Maud Lewis died in poverty, but her paint­ings now sell for tens of thou­sands of dol­lars. Not rated. 115 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

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