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Film / God's Own Country

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God's Own Country is a 2017 British drama film written and directed by Francis Lee in his feature directorial debut. The film stars Josh O'Connor as Johnny, a young sheep farmer working on his remote family farm in Yorkshire, and Alec Secareanu as Gheorghe, a handsome young Romanian migrant worker hired to temporarily help during lambing season. The two slowly develop a romantic relationship.

This film contain examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Johnny drinks a lot to cope up with the feeling of being trapped in farm life.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Johnny travels miles to beg for Gheorghe to come back and admit that he wants to be with him.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Gheorghe observes a sleeping Johnny on multiple occasions, most prominently when Johnny falls asleep on him after their reconciliation.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The air is positively crackling when Gheorghe pins Johnny for the first time after Johnny mocks him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Johnny's father will never recover, his grandmother isn't getting any younger and the weight of the responsibility of the farm is now squarely on his shoulders, but he makes up with Gheorghe with the tacit approval of his family and the two start living in the farmhouse together.
  • Berserk Button: Gheorghe puts up with a lot, but will flip out and fight anyone who calls him racial slurs.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Johnny has random sex with a stranger, infuriating Gheorghe and driving him from the farm, leading Johnny to chase after him.
  • Character Development: At first, Johnny doesn't seem to care much about, or rather sick of, farm work by the way he constantly goes to bar getting hammered or has sex with strangers to cope up. After spending time with Gheorghe and his father's second stroke, he shows much more willingness to work, doing tasks without his father or anyone else reminding him to even after Gheorghe abruptly left.
  • Coming of Age Story: In a way, for Johnny. He goes from being an angry, irresponsible youth who spends all his time drinking and having meaningless hookups to taking more responsibility for his life and the people around him.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Johnny is initially very angry and emotionally bottled up, but after starting his relationship with Gheorghe he reveals his kinder, more tender and affectionate side.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Johnny's family hires Gheorghe, a migrant laborer from Romania, for additional assitance around the farm.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: The source of Johnny's conflict. He doesn't want to do farm work and only does so reluctantly, but has no choice because of his father's post-stroke condition and his grandmother's age. He gradually accepts his responsibility over time and when his father has another stroke which debilitates him for life, he's willing to shoulder everything in his own way.
  • Gay Cruising: Johnny is shown to regularly engage in anonymous hookups in public bathrooms and trailers, where the sex completely lacks affection or eye contact. The film treats Johnny's love of cruising as emblematic of his emotional repression and delinquent attitude. Once he falls in love with Gheorghe, he starts to become more open, but their relationship suffers when Johnny reverts to his old ways and hooks up with a random guy in a pub bathroom while Gheorghe is in the other room.
  • Generation Xerox: Implied and discussed by Johnny's grandmother. Her comment to Johnny when he overworks himself after Gheorghe left indicates that his father's stroke happened from him overexerting himself after Johnny's mother left. She feared that the same thing would happen to him.
  • Jerkass: Early on, Johnny is curt and antagonistic with pretty much everyone around him, and repeatedly insults and antagonizes Gheorghe, even though the two of them have to work together. He mellows out as the story progresses.
  • Manly Gay: Both Johnny and Gheorghe are masculine, tough farmers.
  • Missing Mom: Johnny's mother left the family and the farm behind to become a hairdresser some time ago, but it's not specified when.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: After Johnny and Gheorghe have sex in Johnny's house, they are seen with Johnny's private parts covered in this, even though the film has no problem showing them after their second sex in the mountain.
  • Not So Stoic: Johnny's tough grandmother has a brief, quiet breakdown after her son's second stroke, but pulls it together when Johnny walks in.
  • Oop North: Set in rural Yorkshire, and many characters, especially Johnny's father, have strong Northern accents. It's generally portrayed as a somewhat grim place full of stoic people.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Johnny's grandmother is surprisingly fine with her grandson having relationship with Gheorghe, even after knowing it from a relatively weird waynote . She doesn't outright tell Johnny that she knows, but she reminds him that Gheorghe is there to help with the farm. She also correctly suspects Johnny is the reason Gheorghe left, and isn't too happy about it.
    • Johnny's father is suspicious but not overly bothered when seeing his son and Gheorghe playing around together and eventually gives his tacit approval for the relationship following his second stroke.
  • The Quiet One: Johnny talks very little, especially early on, and his responses are often single words. Gheorghe mocks him for this, asking if the only words he known are swears or slurs. As he becomes more intimate with Gheorghe, he becomes a bit more talkative. But even in the reunion scene at the end, Johnny struggles to say what he means or even openly apologize to Gheorghe.
  • The Place: A roundabout example of this. "God's Own Country" is a phrase coined for places supposedly favored by God, Yorkshire being one of them.
  • Reunion Kiss: When Johnny reunites with Gheorghe in Scotland.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: At the beginning of the film, Johnny hates affection, refusing to kiss the men he sleeps with. This seems to run in the family, as his father never shows him any affection and only communicates to him by yelling about farmwork Johnny needs to do. This is true even after he returns from his near-fatal second stroke, though he does give Johnny his tacit approval in a rare moment of connection. Over the course of the movie, Gheorghe teaches him to open up.
  • Scenery Porn: The mournful Yorkshire countryside.
  • Second-Act Breakup: Towards the end of the movie, Gheorghe storms out of the pub and leaves the farm after he catches Johnny in the act of cheating on him in the pub bathroom.
  • Second Love: Gheorghe reveals that he had a prior relationship on his previous farm, but it didn't work out, leading him to be much more cautious with Johnny.
  • Straight Gay: Both main characters have no stereotypical traits of homosexuals.
  • Sweet Tooth: Gheorghe keeps a secret stash of chocolates.
  • Tears of Joy: Johnny does this after Gheorghe indirectly accepts his apology and request to live together on his farm.
  • Used to Be More Social: Johnny, as pointed out by his friend from university.
  • Volleying Insults: After their first night, having realized that Johnny is not good with people, Gheorghe cheerily calls him a freak. Johnny in turn calls him a fag, amusing Gheorghe even more. They repeat this later during their reconciliation scene, indicating that their attachment is still there.
  • Wound Licking: When Johnny hurts his palm during farm work, Gheorghe spits into his wound as first aid. After their second sexual encounter, Gheorghe does this again, which doubles as a gesture of affection.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: When Johnny asks if Gheorghe is going to return home to Romania, Gheorghe admits that his country is dead and there's nothing but ruins to go back to.