Sunday, June 18, 2017

God’s Own Country

God’s Own Country, dir. Francis Lee, 2017 UK, 104 min. 😐
Saturday, June 17, 6:30 p.m., Castro Theatre

God’s Own Country
First, a caveat: I was clearly in the minority among the audience, which gave an enthusiastic ovation, so if you're inclined to see this film, you probably should.

However, I found it dreary and dull, with no satisfying connection to any of the characters. We spend an excruciatingly long time establishing that the main character, John Saxby (Josh O’Connor, pictured right), is a miserable and generally unpleasant shell of a man whose life contains little more than shoveling sheep shit and then getting plastered at the pub nearly every night. He lives with his father and grandmother, not particularly getting along well with either of them, although they don’t seem much worth the bother. He has furtive, animalistic sexual encounters with as little human connection as possible, and brushes aside attempts by former schoolmates to be friendly. The other main character, Georgeu the Romanian migrant farm worker (Alex Secareanu, left), chips away John’s outer shell, seemingly molecule by molecule. It takes half the movie for them to even begin to interact as human beings. The (100% real) scenes involving the life, birth, and death of farm animals, were interesting in a clinical sense, but not something about which I had tremendous curiosity. I never felt that I got any more than skin deep with any of the human characters.

As I said, the audience gave an enthusiastic ovation, so you should probably ignore my advice and see this film, but I can’t in good conscience recommend a film I genuinely did not like.

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