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Film

Better than a British Brokeback

OUT NOW! Francis Lee's debut feature GOD'S OWN COUNTRY explores gay, immigrant romance in the British shire farmlands.

Johnny (Josh O’Connor), the dour young Yorkshire farmer at the centre of Francis Lee’s astonishing debut feature God’s Own Country, is defined by his fears, but the wounds he suffers as a result are largely self-inflicted. Gay but deeply repressed, he spends his evenings drinking himself into oblivion, occasionally satiating his desires with a spot of guilt-ridden cottaging. Into the picture steps Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), a Romanian migrant worker hired by Johnny’s ailing father (Ian Hart). Despite Johnny’s performative racist mistreatment of his new colleague, a palpable chemistry exists between the pair, and it’s not long before they’re rolling around in the mud together. This sweeping romance has inevitably been dubbed “the British Brokeback Mountain”, but it’s better than that – earthier, less sentimental, and far less coy in its depictions of sexuality. And in removing the external barriers to happiness that so often define queer narratives, Lee subverts expectations by offering his lovers a fighting chance.

God’s Own Country | Directed by Francis Lee (UK 2017), with Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu. Starts Oct 26

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