Redemptive Landscapes

In the past few years, British cinema has seen plenty films aimed squarely at older audience members, from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to Finding Your Feet. Most tend to revolve around getting a second chance late in life and Simon Hunter’s Edie is no different. At least it puts a different spin on the “mountain” movie, if there is such a thing. Whether it’s Everest or Touching the Void, such stories about conquering peaks are commonly testosterone-fuelled and male-driven.

Played by Sheila Hancock, the title character in Edie is an 83 year-old woman who decides to climb Mount Suilven in Scotland. After living a stultifying existence looking after her ailing husband (Donald Pelmear) for years, Edie feels the need to achieve something after his death. Marriage, and the servitude it brought, has left her embittered. Maybe ascending this Scottish peak will redeem her? At least it’ll give her a marvellous panoramic view.

Edie soon speeds up to Scotland on the train, although the difficulties are almost insurmountable even before she sets foot at base camp. Her hotel booking has gone missing and there are no rooms at the inn, so to speak. Fortunately, Jonny (Kevin Guthrie) an infinitely patient young man she bumped into at the railway station offers her a place to stay, in his less-than-salubrious apartment.

Working in an outward bound store, Jonny is also well-placed to advise on this arduous trek, but after a little work from his shifty mate (Paul Brannigan), he’s soon being paid by Edie to accompany her up the mountain. And so a generation-spanning odd-couple tale takes place, with the long-suffering Jonny frequently enduring the grouchy octogenarian’s barbs, all set to the backdrop of the stunning Scottish Highlands.

Scripted by Elizabeth O’Halloran, the metaphors about climbing mountains to find self-satisfaction are as obvious as the film’s outcome. But Hancock is eminently watchable as the crabby Edie, while Kevin Guthrie – who has already featured in Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk and the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – more than holds his own alongside her. Simon Hunter, whose last movie was horror film Mutant Chronicles, delivers a more leisurely paced piece here, one that suits this gentle and mildly diverting story.

Edie opens on 25 May. For more details, visit: www.ediefilm.co.uk

James Mottram

Credits:
1. Sheila Hancock in Edie.