After the loss of her husband, 83 year old Edie rediscovers a postcard which awakens memories of a life half lived. Packing her old camping gear, she leaves the doldrums of her life behind and sets her sights on conquering Mount Suilven in Scotland.
At its heart, Edie sits amidst a sub-genre of feature films whose core audience is close to the age range of the protagonist. Whether it’s Peter O’Toole in Venus (2006) or Dame Maggie Smith in The Lady in the Van (2015), there is an emphasis on a prominent elderly character persevering through their Winter years while forming unlikely companionships with a generation they had previously been alien to. The obvious reversal of this trope is the excellent Harold and Maude (1971) where Ruth Gordon’s spritely and fun-loving septuagenarian (Maude) who manages to change the heart of the death obsessed Harold, played by Bud Cort. But I digress.
The key strength of Edie stems from the wonderful performances from Sheila Hancock and Kevin Guthrie. Their characters are written with dimensionality and while their arc may be clichéd, the chemistry between them makes the journey a rewarding one. Edie’s journey from the guilt and regrets of her past into the re-ignition of her near-forgotten dreams is one of colour. When we meet Edie, her world is drab, muted and predominantly filled with greys and browns. As her reticence fades we get a wonderful montage of Edie trying on a cascade of bold coloured outdoor wear. It’s a simple visual cue but one that highlights the evolution of her character.
August Jakobsson’s cinematography will do wonders for the Scottish tourist board as the camera sweeps across the gorgeous landscapes, giving a sense of the vastness of scale that Edie plans to traverse. In addition to this, the sound design evokes the character of the environment, the sound emphasising the emotion, the memory and the seemingly insurmountable challenge faced by the protagonist.
Edie is a touch more than octogenarian wish fulfilment. The emotional journey of the character is engaging without ever seeming too overwrought and despite a secondary plot element that goes boldly nowhere, proves to be a worthwhile adventure.
Edie is released in the UK, May 25th.
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