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The perfect ‘God’s Own Country’ is much more than England’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’

It is one of the finest and most touching films of the year, too.
God's Own Country's Josh O'Conner
[Image: Picturehouse Entertainment]

"God's Own Country"

Director: Francis Lee

Stars: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu

Rating: R


4.5 (Out Of 5) Globes

Plot: Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) lives and works on a farm in Yorkshire, North England. Following his father Martin (Ian Hart)’s stroke, Johnny has to do 99% of the running of the farm, though, while he spends his nights drinking himself into a stupor. The arrival of Gheorghe (Alec Secareau) as extra help on the farm soon complicates matters even further, especially when they strike up a romance. 

Review: “God’s Own Country” is a tender, absorbing, unflinchingly intimate, and constantly seductive romantic drama that is destined to lazily be labelled as the Yorkshire “Brokeback Mountain.” It’s not, though. It proudly beats to the sound of its own drum, as writer and director Francis Lee delves into his own past to bring the location, romance, and complexity of his characters to life with an unerring eye. Lee does this while avoiding the sensationalist and melodramatic plots and traits of similar films, which, if used, could have overwhelmed or made “God’s Own Country” immediately feel derivative.

Rather than bending to or second guessing its audience, “God’s Own Country” subtly entices through a combination of Lee’s patient, romantic direction and its gripping performances. That’s not just O’Connor and Secareanu, though, who are undeniably transfixing, but the supporting Ian Hart and Gemma Jones both deliver knockout moments, too. This cinematic merging is even more revelatory because of its scant amount of dialogue and long periods of silence. Certain scenes suddenly make you realize just how invested you have become, though. So much so that by the end, and for days after, you can still feel "God’s Own Country" pulsating and racing around inside of you. Which is probably the biggest compliment that a film can receive, and why “God’s Own Country” is one of most surprising, touching, and finest of the year.