›› God's Own Country ‹‹

a film by Francis Lee.

2017 | 100 mins | UK.

an achingly realistic coming-of-age love story.

Dave says:

Described by some as the UK version of Brokeback Mountain, such a comparison is only apt given the story revolves around two men of different backgrounds who come to find comfort in each other's arms in the great outdoors; in this case the harsh, yet equally beautiful farming countryside of West Yorkshire. Yet this captivating feature is a lot more than that. For in telling the tale of how gay boy Johnny (Josh O'Connor of The Durrells and The Crown fame) numbs the daily grind of working long hours on the family farm with a heavy mix of binge-drinking and casual man-sex, this is in essence a good old fashioned coming-of-age love story, courtesy of the arrival of hired help Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu); a Romanian migrant who forces Johnny to face up to the responsibilities of both life and love.

Yet in showcasing an achingly realistic depiction of gay life in rural England, first-time feature writer and director Francis Lee has also delivered a character study of a man all but trapped in a life that's taking both a mental and physical toll on him. For Johnny is far from a likable character at first; selfish and downright annoying, he's the polar opposite of Gheorghe who radiates warmth and compassion, whilst not suffering fools gladly. Told with minimal dialogue, their scenes together and in particular the act of lovemaking itself, strikingly contrasts raw physical lust with that of a man learning how to love and moreover how to accept love back in return.

Screened in the UK on the 28th June, 2020 as part of the Channel 4 season of films to celebrate Gay Pride, as expected, Ian Hart as Johnny's stroke-laden father and Gemma Jones as the grandmother taking care of them are splendid in their roles; both being far more open-minded than what they may at first appear. Yet whilst the film belongs to the O'Connor / Secareanu pairing, boys who do not shy away from showing you the men they are, it also belongs to the vivid cinematography of Joshua James Richards who captures not only the breathtaking beauty of the Yorkshire countryside, but equally the joy and sheer heartache of the lambing season. Complete with a close-of-play that is both compelling and emotionally rewarding; frankly, this is one of the best British gay films in years. But then, you already knew that.

›› available on DVD from Amazon.
›› check out the Official Trailer on YouTube.
›› revised: Monday, 29th June, 2020.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the full monty. 
Overall - file under ... 4+ stars. 

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