Movies / Home Theatre

God’s Own Country (2017)


By Hervé St-Louis
June 12, 2022 - 11:34

Johnny Saxby, a young farmer leaving with his sick father and old grandmother is saddled with the responsibility alone to take care of the family farm. But Johnny is gay and cloistered. He goes on sex escapades every now and then, but one of them leads to his lack of attention for the family farm and the death of a calve. Romanian labourer Gheorghe Ionescu is hired to help with the far but before long, he must tame the rebellious Johnny to teach him about responsibility and love. Will Johnny rise to the challenge and learn to love this man?

Okay, let’s get the Brokeback Mountain quip here. This film seems like a British Brokeback Mountain set in the contemporary times but also a better representation of gay-themed films. However, much like Brokeback Mountain, the film is easily appealing to general audiences and not just gay men. It is a touching story about the harsh life in the countryside and a lot of family pathos. The Saxby are not a talkative family. They have minimal interactions with each other, seemingly appearing to barely tolerate one another. Gheorghe comes in this mix and seen as the stranger replacing old Britons by some locals. Thus, this film is also about the plight of migrant workers from Eastern Europe and the racism they experience in a United Kingdom often closed to outsiders.

Gheorghe as many have pointed out, as few vices and thus is seen as the good man that can civilize the recluse and irresponsible Johnny. He gives Johnny a sense of purpose, while the movie hints that the life on the Saxby’s farm, is a new opportunity to recreate a space that he had lost just before leaving Rumania. He is the secondary figure here, whose purpose is to humanize Johnny and to some extent his family.

The film is very quiet with much about the journey of the characters shown silently through their actions, or symbolically. For example, the lambskin that Gheorghe takes from a dead calf to help another one is paralleled in the scene where Johnny regrets his lover’s departure, and thus puts his sweater on. There is an obligatory scene where the two men play innocently in a pond. It seems to be a rule for gay-themed movies that two lovers play in the water naked or hop around a wooden area to frolic. The film was shot on location in Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

The film looks grey and bleak, mirroring Johnny’s life, until it gradually is more colourful as Gheorghe’s influence upon his life reveals the best of him. You can call this film a story of redemption through love and one where the theme of birth and rebirth are constantly exposed visually. It’s a good film.

Rating: 8 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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