Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: Simon Hunter

Stars: Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie, Wendy Morgan, Amy Manson, Paul Brannigan.

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Edith Moon (veteran Sheila Hancock, from The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, etc) is an 85-year old widow who has spent the better part of her life caring for her wheelchair bound and domineering husband. She is preparing to move into an aged care facility. But when she visits the place to check it out she decides she is not quite ready for the move.

While packing up her things she finds her diary in which she has written her thoughts about the hardships of life with her husband. She also finds a photograph of Mt Suilven, one of Scotland’s highest peaks, which she had wanted to climb with her father. Bitter at how she has wasted her life, Edie decides to return to Scotland and climb the mountain. Her family though do not like the idea because of her age and health.

She is not quite prepared for how physically demanding this challenge is though. She meets Jonny (Kevin Guthrie, from Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, etc), a younger man who runs a mountaineering shop. Sensing her difficulties, he reluctantly agrees to help her; he becomes her guide on the arduous climb, and a friendship develops between them.

Edie is a gently paced film that tackles themes of grief, independence and elderly people making the most of life and second chances. It has been written by director Simon Hunter in collaboration with first time writer Elizabeth O’Halloran and Edward Lynden Bell. This is a simple story is another variation on the odd couple journey, and it feels somehow familiar and a little cliched at times. It marks a change of pace for director Hunter, whose previous film was the sci-fi action tale Mutant Chronicles.

Edie is a showcase for veteran Hancock who has enjoyed a lengthy career on both stage and screen and, at the age of 85, is still active, mainly on television. She is on screen for the whole film and carries the film with her performance that conveys a range of emotions, from grief to defiance and resilience, and even carries a hint of vulnerability and frailty. Hancock underwent a fitness training regime to prepare for this physically demanding role. She develops a nice rapport and chemistry with Guthrie, and the odd couple dynamic and good-natured bickering produces a few gentle chuckles.

The film looks great thanks to the cinematography of Icelander August Jakobssen (Metalhead, etc), whose widescreen lensing captures the rugged landscapes and harsh beauty of the Scottish highlands.

But ultimately Edie seems a fairly formulaic and occasionally cliched tale of an octogenarian seeking to establish her independence and sense of freedom. While certainly gorgeous to look at, it is a little dull and the idea would probably have been better served as a shorter film. Edie will appeal to the same demographic who enjoyed solid British dramas like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its ilk.


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