Just Celebrity Reports… Edinburgh International Film Festival

God’s own country: A super debut feature about a secret relationship that shouldn’t be a secret

We’re almost halfway the Edinburgh Film Festival and we are already seeing a lot of great films. They’re still so many amazing features coming up next. This edition, the 71st to be precise, was launched with the debut feature from Francis Lee, God’s Own Country. After the screening we came only to one conclusion: Edinburgh Film Festival started with an openings film from the highest level.

After being showed at the Sundance Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival earlier, it was time to let God’s Own Country loose onto the UK audience. The very classic British movie focuses on Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor), a young sheep farmer who lives in Yorkshire with his father (Ian Hart) and grandmother (Gemma Jones) and who struggles with his love life. Because his grandmother is too old and his father is partly paralysed, he carries all the pressure on his shoulders to make the family’s farm works. Despite the fact that that might not be the life Johnny wants for himself. Because lambing season is approaching, the family decides to hire a Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe Ionescu (Alec Secareanu) to help Johnny out. But Gheorghe’s arrival might change both men their lives a lot more than they initially thought. Both their work and private life.

God’s Own Country is unique and authentic

Did you think you were reading a short version of Brokeback Mountain? Well, we don’t blame you for that. God’s Own Country reminded us of that Award Winning movie as well, but don’t get us wrong. Apart from the story that might sound a little bit familiar, God’s Own Country is unique and authentic in its own way. Director Francis Lee got his inspiration for the story from his own life. Staying on his father’s farm, which also featured in the film, to help out or going to drama school to fulfil his own dreams was one of the dilemma’s Lee himself needed to get over. A few of the personal touches that made sure that the movie got its own uniqueness.

God’s Own Country might not be the beginning of a long and (very) successful career for Lee only but also for the upcoming actors Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu this film might be the breakthrough they need and that they definitely deserve. They portray all aspects of a gay relationship perfectly: From discovering your true nature to the way the outside world reacts to that. From fighting for the love you want (even if others finds the love unnatural) to the struggles you’re going through (just like in every love relationship). We’re sure that O’Connor and Secareanu will be on the big screen more soon. Something that we definitely applaud.

A personal and exceptional story, a lot of personal touches and a cast and crew that shine like a diamond? The openings film of the Edinburgh International Film Festival got it all! You should give a movie like that all of your attention. If you’re not able to watch it during the festival, then catch it for sure on the 1st of September, when it’s released in the UK!

Celebrity and Film Reporter, Liselotte Vanophem



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