This is the first feature film director/writer Francis Lee. It won the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 – and announced him as a major new talent.
Lee, 47, lived close to where the film was set. His father was a sheep farmer.
You can almost smell the Yorkshire countryside – the sheep, the mud, the humans and the damp windy moors.
Life there, on a remote farm, can be hard and unforgiving.
Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor, in an emotionally layered performance) is a not too bright gay man in his 20s. He lives with his taciturn father Martin (Ian Hart) who has had a stroke and is physically unable to work and his dour hardworking grandmother Diedre (Gemma Jones).
He works long hard monotonous hours and spends his time off binge drinking at the local pub, and occasionally engaging in anonymous sex.
Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe Ionescu (Alex Secareanu) is hired to help during the lambing season. He is handsome, communicative, unafraid of showing his feelings, gentle with animals and skilled in farm work.
Sent off for several nights by Martin to repair the stone wall of a field away from the family home a relationship develops between the two young men.
A fight turns into rough sex but then Gheorghe slowly shows Johnny how to make intimate love, in scenes full of passion and tenderness.
Some of the scenes of full frontal nudity and erotic sex may be confronting for moviegoers (this would go unnoticed in a film about heterosexual love).
Comparisons will be made with Brokeback Mountain, but this is a different story in a different country. It is beautifully filmed by Joshua James Richards with a great soundtrack.
This is an unsentimental, very British love story which finishes on a happy note. The cast is impeccable and the film totally immersive.
Showing at UWA Somerville until 4 February. ECU Joondalup Pines 6 – 11 February.
Watch the trailer…