The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
June 17, 2012
Clayton’s final theatrical feature centers on a fearless performance by Maggie Smith as an Irish spinster facing a future of isolation and poverty, an increasing reliance on alcohol and a crisis in the religious faith that has both sustained and limited her life. Clayton – who once described himself as an ex-Catholic – vividly illustrates his protagonist’s fury and despair as she struggles with the attentions of a widowed suitor and with a past she is powerless to change. The film’s power stems from Clayton’s and Smith’s refusal to make Judith Hearne a figure of pity; she has clearly played a part in the making of her own predicament. Instead, she is powerfully recognizable.