WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: Greenwich Picturehouse
WHEN: 1/9, released 1/9
Yorkshire sheep farmer Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) is binge drinking and having one night stands when he’s not keeping the farm running for his ill father.
- Read on for reasons including why this is the first post-Brexit love story
Migrant worker Georghe (Alec Secareanu) arrives from Romania to lend a hand and observes that, while the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful, Johnny’s life is lonely.
The Brokeback Mountain comparisons as the unlikely pair’s physical exertions become more intimate are as easy to make as the casual racism that Georghe encounters from those that surround him.
One of the many striking things about God’s Own Country is how it opens almost wordlessly as we have a sense of not only how isolated and frustrated Johnny is but also how incapable of expression he has become.
Georghe’s kindness (he even feeds a runt of the litter from a bottle and fools its mother into bringing it back into the fold) eventually rubs off on Johnny and their relationship takes a more conventional turn.
Johnny’s relationship with his ailing father (Ian Hart, aggressive even when struggling to speak after a second stroke) is well defined and his grandmother (Gemma Jones) makes much of her role.
We were also struck by what Georghe had to say about the death of his own country and the hopelessness as the young like him had left to work elsewhere in the hope for a brighter future.
O’Connor and Secareanu make a convincing central couple but it is the well drawn emotional journey of the former that mark O’Connor out as a name to watch in future.