Review – ‘Edie’ reaches for inspiration, but it’s a bit of a bore

Poster for 2018 drama film Edie

Genre: Drama
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 25th May 2018
Runtime: 101 minutes
Director: Simon Hunter
Writer: Elizabeth O’Halloran
Starring: Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie, Amy Manson, Paul Brannigan, Wendy Morgan
Synopsis: Following the death of her husband, a driven woman in her eighties attempts to climb a mountain, with the reluctant help of a young Scottish man who forms something of a bond with her.

 

 

The plot of Edie gets moving when a throwaway comment from the owner of a greasy spoon café triggers the titular pensioner to embark upon an adventurous quest. That simple idea that it’s “never too late for you” drives the protagonist to follow in the footsteps of her outdoorsy father and complete the mountain climb they planned to do together before her life got in the way. The pieces of a compelling drama about the nature of ageing are all there, but Edie too often falls into the generic tropes of movies about older people.

Sheila Hancock’s central performance as the octogenarian protagonist is a solid one, as you’d expect from a performer with a career spanning more than five decades. We meet her caring for her terminally ill husband, who passes away. Three years later, Edie is lonely and determined not to be consigned to an old people’s home. She decides to travel to the Scottish Highlands in order to climb the intimidating and enormous 2,400ft mountain Suilven. Reluctantly, she agrees to pay for help from Jonny (Kevin Guthrie) – a local man who runs a camping supplies shop.

From this point onwards, Edie ceases to be an exploration of ageing and overcoming the odds. It instead transforms into a fairly standard odd couple comedy, hamstrung by the stunning lack of chemistry between the two leads. Guthrie, who was so terrific in Proclaimers musical Sunshine on Leith, tries his best here, but there’s absolutely no spark between he and Hancock. This creates a rather tedious movie that feels much longer than its 100-minute running time. The standard beats of an odd couple narrative are not enough to create a link between the characters, particularly as they seem more focused on providing product placement for a particular cider brand.

Edie is attempting to be an inspiring movie. We know this because characters keep saying it, referring to Hancock’s character as an “inspiring” figure on a regular basis. It’s more galling that the movie doesn’t work because the reality behind it is very impressive. Hancock, aged 83 during the filming, actually completed the climb of Suilven herself – a genuinely impressive feat that never feels that impressive during the movie itself. This is particularly true given the script’s decision to weave in an unusual subplot about Guthrie’s girlfriend and her business dealings, rather than focus on its protagonist.

Despite occasional flashes of emotion, including a shocking moment in which an exasperated Edie snaps that she’s “too fucking old” to attempt this climb, there’s not much to this film that makes it anything more than a dull drama that fails to meet its potential. Everyone involved in the movie is working exceptionally hard, but the material simply isn’t there to produce anything other than a story that’s as much an endurance challenge for the audience as it is for the characters on screen.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Poop!

Sheila Hancock’s undeniable gravitas is almost enough to carry Edie into the realms of mediocrity, but the material around her is so tedious and slow-moving that it’s tough to get invested in anything that’s happening. It doesn’t work as an inspirational journey and its odd couple comedy falls flat.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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