Monday 19 June 2017

God's Own Country (film review)

So this is the time of year when 30 Days Wild coincides with the Edinburgh International Film Festival! As has been the case over the past few years, I have a press pass for the festival and will be reviewing films that deal with environmental issues (including rural life) or literature in some way.

God's Own Country is the film that will open the festival on Wednesday evening and has been described by some as the British Brokeback Mountain, but it is much more than that, certainly more interesting and in my humble opinion a better film.

Johnny (Josh O'Connor) lives on his family farm in the bleakly beautiful Yorkshire Pennines, with his father (who is disabled from a stroke) and grandmother. The farm is only just succeeding, conditions are unforgiving and family life is demanding. Johnny works hard, drinks hard and picks up men at cattle shows. He seems envious of his friends who've gone to college but claims to be doing the better thing by staying at home.

Things begin to change when young Romanian farm worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) arrives to help out on the farm. Gheorghe is a natural, enthusiastic farmer with a wonderful skill with sheep, he adopts an orphaned sheep and looks after it in a most touching way. Gheorghe is also able to reach Johnny in ways which the English guy stays clear of. 

When Johnny isn't being his own worst enemy, the two develop a relationship, which has to rate as one of the most beautiful I've seen recently on film. Unfortunately Johnny all too often is being his own worst enemy and there are many times when I wanted to shake him and say 'don't be such an idiot!'. Is he ever going to grow up and see sense?

This is the debut feature of director Francis Lee and I hope we see lots more from him.  

Astonishingly at the time of writing, there are still tickets for this film (which already features on many lists of the best British films of the year)! 

You can buy a ticket here for God's Own Country, screening as the opening gala of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017 at 2040 on Wednesday 21 June at Festival Theatre, or for its second screening at 1810 on Thrsday 22 June at Cineworld. 

If you can't make either of those screenings then the film will be released in the UK from 1 September.

See a film for 30 Days Wild.  

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