Edie – movie reviewby Peter Calder
Scotland shines in Edie, an odd-couple movie that’s more schematic than authentic.
In Edie, 85-year-old Sheila Hancock plays the title character, Edith Moore, whose husband’s death in the opening reel, we later learn, frees her from the lifetime duty of servitude to a cruel bully, though it leaves her under the watchful eye of an impatient and judgmental daughter, who wants to ship her off to a rest home. Reorganising the attic, Edith comes across a postcard from her late father, with whom she went camping and high-country climbing as a girl. She stares thoughtfully into space …
The picture on the postcard is of Suilven, a mountain (of sorts; it’s not as big as Pūtauaki/Edgecumbe) in north-western Scotland, which her dad always promised to climb with her, and there are no prizes for guessing what happens next. It’s enough to say it involves her hiring a guide and fitness coach, Jonny (Kevin Guthrie), whose initial intention – to separate an old Sassenach from her money – evaporates as he begins to like her.
His process of preparing her for the challenge involves more product placement than you can shake a walking pole at; if outdoor-equipment companies didn’t help with financing, they missed a trick. VisitScotland must also be thrilled at the film’s depiction of blue skies and sunlit uplands on which rain falls only as a plot device.
It’s more schematic than authentic, and anyone with a smidgen of tramping experience will wince at the improbabilities, such as the extravagant campsite that emerges from a pack evidently no heavier than a handbag.
More disappointingly, it’s an odd-couple movie in which the couple, divided by two generations, don’t really develop. They learn from each other and the teachable moments are underlined with a syrupy score that makes sure we don’t miss any of them, but it’s a film of strategically placed crises and no surprises at all. Beautiful scenery, though.
Video: Truffle Pictures
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This article was first published in the July 7, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
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