God's Own Country 2.0 stars

God's Own Country movie poster

Pause a moment before forming the impression that fisting a barnyard animal is a gateway act for the indiscriminate sodomy that opens the film, because this relationship drama actually goes somewhere. Johnny (Josh O'Connor) is gay, except when you try to kiss him on the lips. No wonder the young farmer spends his nights drinking himself to oblivion. Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) is a compassionate Romanian ranch-hand hired to work the sheep. Comparisons to Brokeback Mountain seem as inevitable as the coupling that follows. Considering the near neorealist lengths writer-director Francis Lee goes to when depicting life on Johnny’s parent’s farm (and the intricacies of the lambing season), the bareback mountings that ensue are badly simulated to the point a dissolve would have been in order. The scenes between Johnny and his slowly-dying dad (Ian Hart) and the romantic reversal between the leads make this more than a routine gay cowboy picture. One major drawback: even with headphones on, the British accents are such that subtitles would have been in order. With a nearly unintelligible Gemma Jones as Johnny's mother. 2017.

Scott Marks


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