God's Own Country (2017 film)

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God's Own Country
God's Own Country (2017 film).png
British release poster
Directed by Francis Lee
Produced by
  • Manon Ardisson
  • Jack Tarling
Written by Francis Lee
Starring
Music by A Winged Victory For The Sullen
Cinematography Joshua James Richards
Edited by Chris Wyatt
Production
companies
  • British Film Institute
  • Creative England
  • Met Film Production
  • Shudder Films
  • Inflammable Films
  • Magic Bear Productions
Distributed by
Release date
  • 23 January 2017 (2017-01-23) (Sundance)
  • 1 September 2017 (2017-09-01) (United Kingdom)
  • 25 October 2017 (2017-10-25) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £1 million[2]
Box office $2.2 million[3]

God's Own Country is a 2017 British drama film written and directed by Francis Lee in his feature directorial debut. The film stars Josh O'Connor and Alec Secăreanu. The plot follows a young sheep farmer in Yorkshire whose life is transformed by the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker. The film was the only UK-based production to feature in the world drama category at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival where it won the world cinema directing award.

Plot[edit]

In Yorkshire, Johnny lives on the family farm with his father, Martin, and grandmother, Deirdre. Due to his father having suffered from a stroke, and his grandmother’s age, much of the day-to-day running of the farm falls to Johnny. In his social time, Johnny engages in binge drinking and furtive sexual encounters with other men. Returning late to the farm after such an encounter with a young male auctioneer, he is berated by his father after a calf dies from a breech birth in his absence.

Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, is hired as extra help for lambing season. He arrives and spends his first night in a caravan that the family has organized as his accommodation. As the ewes have moved away from the main part of the farm, and as part of the farm's boundary wall remains unrepaired by Johnny, it is decided that Johnny and Gheorghe should spend several days camping nearer to the animals. When one of the ewes gives birth to an unconscious runt, Johnny is intrigued when Gheorghe is able to resuscitate and care for it. One morning, after Johnny refers to Gheorghe yet again as a "gypsy," Gheorghe tackles him to the ground and warns Johnny not to speak that way to him again.

The next day, the two men again engage in a fight that turns into rough sex. While Johnny initially does not acknowledge the encounter, the two share cigarettes and a sugar packet[4] for their cup noodles throughout the day, and that night have a tender sexual encounter.

Returning to the farm, Johnny invites Gheorghe to stay with him in the house, but Gheorghe elects to remain in the caravan. When Martin suffers a second stroke, Johnny realizes that the running of the farm is now entirely his responsibility, and asks Gheorghe if he will stay with him. When Gheorghe expresses uncertainty over whether they can stay together and maintain the farm simultaneously, Johnny reacts poorly, over-drinking and engaging in another random sexual encounter. When Gheorghe realises what Johnny has done, he abruptly leaves the farm.

Martin is released from the hospital, but is now fully debilitated. Johnny, desperate to make up with Gheorghe, tells his father that he will stay to run the farm, but that things must be run on his terms. Martin gives his tacit approval to Johnny, who sets off to bring Gheorghe back to the farm. After he finds Gheorghe working in Scotland, the two men reconcile. Gheorghe returns with Johnny; the caravan is taken away, and Gheorghe moves into the house.[5][6]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film is partly based on writer and director Francis Lee's own life, where he also had to make a decision to either stay and work on his family's farm or go off to drama school.[8]

The film was shot in Yorkshire, specifically around the Silsden area of Keighley in West Yorkshire,[5] with some other scenes being shot in Keighley Bus Station[9] and Airedale General Hospital with Haworth and Otley also featuring as backdrops for the film.[9]

The production was part financed through the British Film Council's iFeature programme with additional funding being secured from Creative England.[6]

Release[edit]

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 23 January 2017. It was the only production from the United Kingdom that featured in the world drama category in the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.[10][2] It went onto screen at the Berlin International Film Festival on 11 February 2017.[11][12]

Shortly after, Picturehouse Entertainment, Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired U.K. and U.S. distribution rights respectively.[13][14] It was released in the United Kingdom on 1 September 2017.[15]

The film was banned in some Arab countries due to explicit sex scenes between the two protagonists.[16] Likewise, Romania was the only country in Eastern Europe where the film was screened.[16]

Reception[edit]

O'Connor's performance was praised by critics

God's Own Country received critical acclaim. It holds a 99% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 98 reviews, with a weighted average of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A quiet, moving rumination on loneliness and newfound intimacy, God's Own Country marks an outstanding directorial debut for Francis Lee." [17] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 85 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[18]

The Sundance Film Festival's listing for God's Own Country says that "you can smell the mud in this movie" while also describing Francis Lee as a major new talent and the film as "one not to be missed."[1] Peter Bradshaw, writing in The Guardian, gave the film four stars out of five. Bradshaw described the film as "an almost, but not quite a Dales Brokeback," and also as a "very British love story, bursting at the seams with unspoken emotions, unvoiced fears about the future, and a readiness to displace every emotion into hard physical work".[19]

At the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival the film received the Harvey Award, presented by the Teddy Awards programme for LGBT-related films in conjunction with a reader jury from the German LGBT magazine Männer.[20]

Ed Potton, writing in The Times, gave the film four stars out of five and described the film as "splendid" and "[a] potent film, a Yorkshire Brokeback Mountain".[21]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Australian Film Critics Association 13 March 2018 Best International Film (English Language) God's Own Country Nominated [22]
Berlin International Film Festival 18 February 2017 Männer Jury Award God's Own Country Won [20][23]
Teddy Award God's Own Country Nominated
British Academy Film Awards 18 February 2018 Outstanding British Film God's Own Country Nominated [24]
Rising Star Award Josh O'Connor Nominated
British Independent Film Awards 10 December 2017 Douglas Hickox Award Francis Lee Nominated [25][26]
Best British Independent Film God's Own Country Won
Best Director Francis Lee Nominated
Best Screenplay Francis Lee Nominated
Best Actor Josh O'Connor Won
Alec Secăreanu Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ian Hart Nominated
Best Debut Screenwriter Francis Lee Won
Breakthrough Producer Jack Tarling Nominated
Manon Ardisson Nominated
Best Casting Shaheen Baig Nominated
Layla Merrick-Wolf Nominated
Best Sound Anna Bertmark Won
Chicago International Film Festival 26 October 2017 Silver Q-Hugo God's Own Country Won [27]
Chéries-Chéris 21 November 2017 Grand Prize God's Own Country Nominated [28]
Dinard British Film Festival 1 October 2017 Golden Hitchcock God's Own Country Won [29][30]
Heartbeat Hitchcock God's Own Country Won
Dorian Awards 31 January 2018 LGBTQ Film of the Year God's Own Country Nominated [31]
Unsung Film of the Year God's Own Country Won
Edinburgh International Film Festival 20 June 2017 The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film Francis Lee Won [32][33]
Empire Awards 18 March 2018 Best British Film God's Own Country Won [34]
[35]
Best Male Newcomer Josh O'Connor Won
Best Screenplay Francis Lee Nominated
Evening Standard British Film Awards 8 February 2018 Best Film God's Own Country Won [36]
Best Supporting Actor Ian Hart Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Gemma Jones Won
Breakthrough of the Year Francis Lee Nominated
Josh O'Connor Nominated
Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival 27 June 2017 AT&T Audience Award God's Own Country Won [37]
Fünf Seen Film Festival 5 August 2017 Audience Award God's Own Country Nominated [38]
Galway Film Fleadh 5 September 2017 Best International First Feature God's Own Country Won [39]
Golden Tomato Awards 3 January 2018 Best Romance Movie 2017 God's Own Country 4th Place [40]
Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival 19 August 2017 Best Feature God's Own Country Won [41][42]
Jameson CineFest–Miskolc International Film Festival 17 September 2017 Emeric Pressburger Prize God's Own Country Nominated [43]
London Film Critics' Circle 28 January 2018 Film of the Year God's Own Country Nominated [44]
British/Irish Film of the Year God's Own Country Nominated
British/Irish Actor of the Year Josh O'Connor Nominated
Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker Francis Lee Won
Technical Achievement Award Joshua James Richards Nominated
San Francisco International Film Festival 19 April 2017 Golden Gate Award God's Own Country Nominated [45]
Satellite Awards 10 February 2018 Best Film God's Own Country Won[a] [46]
Stockholm International Film Festival 20 November 2017 Best Direction Francis Lee Won [47]
Best Male Actor Josh O'Connor Won
Bronze Horse God's Own Country Nominated
Sundance Film Festival 28 January 2017 World Cinema Directing Award Francis Lee Won [48][49][50]
Grand Jury Prize Francis Lee Nominated
Sydney Film Festival 18 June 2017 Foxtel Movies Audience Award God's Own Country 7th place [51]
Toronto Inside Out Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival 4 June 2017 Bill Sherwood Award God's Own Country Won [52][53]
Transilvania International Film Festival 11 June 2017 Special Jury Award God's Own Country Won [54]
Transilvania Trophy God's Own Country Nominated
Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards 15 January 2018 Best First Screenplay Francis Lee Nominated [55]
Zagreb Film Festival 18 November 2017 The Golden Pram God's Own Country Nominated [56]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "God's Own Country". www.sundance.org. Sundance Institute. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Sherwin, Adam (1 December 2016). "Sundance Film Festival to premiere Yorkshire sheep farming movie". iNews. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "God's Own Country (2017)". the-numbers.com. Retrieved 28 January 2018. 
  4. ^ Chang, Kee (26 October 2017). "Screen Test: Alec Secareanu". Anthem Magazine. Retrieved 4 March 2018. We see that echoed around the campfire when he sneaks packets of sugar into his instant rice cups, right? I thought it was drugs at first." "Yes, it’s sugar packets. That’s what keeps him going. 
  5. ^ a b Rahman, Miran (9 August 2014). "Planned feature film could receive key funding support". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "British Council Film: God's Own Country". film.britishcouncil.org. British Film Council. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "God's Own Country full cast and crew". imdb.com. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  8. ^ Rosser, Michael. "'God's Own Country' cast revealed as shoot begins". screendaily.com. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Knights, David (29 April 2016). "New movie God's Own Country filmed at Keighley bus station". Keighley News. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Shudder Films' First Completed Feature Selected for Premiere at Sundance ‹ News and Opportunities ‹ Homepage". NFM. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "God's Own Country". Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  12. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (6 February 2017). "Berlin Rounds Out Panorama Lineup, Adds 'Call Me By Your Name' & 'God's Own Country'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  13. ^ Grater, Tom (6 February 2017). "Picturehouse takes Sundance hit 'God's Own Country' for UK". Screen International. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  14. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (8 May 2017). "Orion Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn Films Land 'God's Own Country' For U.S." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  15. ^ Mitchell, Robert (9 May 2017). "'God's Own Country,' Gay Love Story That Premiered at Sundance, to Open Edinburgh Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Gheorghe Chelu (16 November 2017). "Film cu români, interzis în unele țări din cauza scenelor prea deocheate". Click! (in Romanian). 
  17. ^ "God's Own Country". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 3 February 2018. 
  18. ^ "God's Own Country". Metacritic. Retrieved 3 February 2018. 
  19. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (22 January 2017). "God's Own Country review – Dales answer to Brokeback that's a very British love story". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  20. ^ a b Roxborough, Scott (18 February 2017). "Berlin: Sebastian Lelio's 'A Fantastic Woman' Wins Teddy Award for Best Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
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  23. ^ "All Films At The 31st Teddy Award". Teddy Award. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  24. ^ "Nominations List for the EE British Academy Film Awards in 2018" (Press release). BAFTA. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018. 
  25. ^ "Nominations – Awards 2017". British Independent Film Awards. Archived from the original on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017. 
  26. ^ "First Winners Announced for BIFA 2017". British Independent Film Awards. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017. 
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  28. ^ "Films en compétition" (in French). Chéries-Chéris. Archived from the original on 16 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
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  30. ^ Grater, Tom (2 October 2017). "'God's Own Country', 'Daphne' win top prizes in Dinard". Screendaily. Retrieved 2 October 2017. 
  31. ^ "'Call Me by Your Name' Leads Dorian Award Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  32. ^ "Award winners announced for the 71st EIFF". Edinburgh International Film Festival. 30 June 2017. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  33. ^ "God's Own Country wins Edinburgh Film Festival award". BBC. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  34. ^ Ruby, Jennifer (19 January 2018). "Empire Film Awards 2018: The Last Jedi leads the pack with nine nominations including Best Actress for Daisy Ridley". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 
  35. ^ Ritman, Alex (22 January 2018). "'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Leads Nominations for U.K.'s Empire Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 
  36. ^ "Discover all the nominations for this year's Evening Standard British Film Awards". Standard. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
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  42. ^ "Brit 'Brokeback' 'God's Own Country' Opens to Raves in U.K." Flagrant. 1 September 2017. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
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External links[edit]