The sexual tension mingles with the mud and sweat of a hard day’s farm work in Francis Lee’s stunning debut film, “God’s Own Country,” which released its first official trailer today. The movie played Sundance earlier this year to rave reviews, with its country setting and restrained storytelling earning inevitable comparisons to “Brokeback Mountain.” But “God’s Own Country” has the benefit of two fresh young faces in the leads (Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu) to fully inhabit the roles with no prior associations, as well as the freedom to buck Hollywood tropes. Including that pesky one where gay films have to end in tragedy.
The film is set in the bleak but beautiful Yorkshire countryside, where young Johnny (O’Connor) carries the burden of managing his family’s livelihood in the wake of his father’s stroke. To help with lambing season, the family hires a Romanian migrant worker named Gheorghe (Secareanu). While Johnny is well-versed in soliciting random sex at livestock auctions, he isn’t prepared for the intensity of real human connection. But when the two head up the mountain to birth the lambs, things get very muddy.
Beautifully rendered and engaging from beginning to end, “God’s Own Country” is the kind of gay film more people should be making. The almost documentary-style farm scenes elevate it way beyond more conventional gay dramas, and it doesn’t make the mistake of confusing tragedy with quality.
Watch the trailer below: