‘What you’re doing up here – it’s kinda inspiring.’
This year seems to be bringing us more movies from genres and subgenres that have been all too underappreciated. Teen movies have been massive, particularly ones that feel truly current and relevant (a la Love, Simon, Every Day and Blockers) and so have films on the other side of the age spectrum – films aimed at the grey pound. Finding Your Feet was an enjoyable romp about finding love and finding yourself at an older age. Book Club, coming out at the end of May, appears to have simillar sensibilities – albeit the US counterpart.
Edie, a British independent movie, is less conventional. It’s quieter yet bolder; telling the story of 83 year old Edie (Sheila Hancock) who has spent her entire life in the supporting role. Unhappily married for over 50 years, her husband’s carer for much of that time, she decides she must go for one last big adventure. Her only ever adventure in fact. It was one that she was supposed to go on with her dad decades ago, but her husband prevented that and her beloved father died soon after. Emboldened she makes her way from London to Scotland and decides that, on her own, she will climb the mountain range that has haunted her since her failed trip all those years ago. Except fate throws her, literally, into the path of Jonny (Kevin Guthrie) and a unusual friendship soon forms.
It would be impossible to leave a screening of Edie without feeling empowered and uplifted as the credits roll. In it’s 102 minute running time we are taken on an emotional rollercoaster that doesn’t shy away from bleak truths and heartache. Edie has lifted a closeted life, trapped in the role of wife and mother. She’s spent her years as an onlooker, not allowed and unable to participate in it. Her interactions with others are limited and usually brusque to the point of offence.
But, as the film explores, that isn’t her fault. Why should we expect someone like Edie to spread joy when her life has known so little of it? Hancock plays her beautifully, with an extraordinary amount of depth and layers. Much of her performance is told by looks and movement.It’s an incredible performance, a perfect swansong for one of Britain’s greats – if she wishes to take it. Very few actors could play a role like this as well as Maggie Smith in The Lady In The Van.
It’s a character type we mostly see associated with men – the unlikeable curmudgeon whose past has narrowed his present. A Man Called Ove is a beautiful example of this done well. Thematically it shares much with Edie. Both feature eponymous characters stuck in their ways due to soon-to-be-disclosed tragedy. The major difference being that Ove is unwilling forced out of his comfort zone whereas Edie leaps out of hers, albeit it with defensive apprehension. However, both films are united in the introduction of a younger supportive, in both senses of the word, character. In Edie that role is played wonderfully by Kevin Guthrie – a real one to watch. He’s so tender and gentle with her, subtly acting as both friend and foil. He’s charming and delightful as a man who may be 50 odd years younger, but feels as swamped and trapped as she does.
The scenery is beautiful, the performances impeccable and the story is quietly compelling. Well worth a watch, no matter what age you are.