It’s not difficult to see why many critics – perhaps left tear-streaked and tongue-tied by director Francis Lee’s spellbinding debut – have called this the British Brokeback Mountain.
Set among remote Yorkshire moors, it traces the awkward, covert attraction that blossoms between two strapping young farmers. Sheep farmers, to boot. Yet for all these superficial parallels, this gorgeous, heart-bursting romance deserves to be celebrated on its own terms.
There’s something quintessentially British about its relationship to the land and its hardened vulnerable people, while its delicate handling of cross-cultural relations — as young, introverted local Johnny (Josh O’Connor) slowly opens up to Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) — couldn’t be more timely and moving under the shadow of Brexit.
All that and it’s as hot as the windswept moors are nippy. Consider this an essential new classic in the canon of British LGBT+ cinema.
God’s Own Country his UK cinemas this Friday, 1 September.
Words: Guy Lodge