With its two stars putting in unshowy, endearing performances, Edie tries its best to win the audience – the Grey pound in particular – over. It’s a pity, then, that the clunky machinations of its script, and the drily familiar plot, do little to elevate this treacly tale above Sunday evening drama.
Sheila Hancock is Edie, a pursed-lipped pensioner recently bereft of her husband, under who she suffered years of emotional abuse which has only now been revealed to her daughter. Alienated from her mountaineering father thanks to her controlling spouse, the protagonist is spurred by the discovery of a long-lost postcard and the throwaway words of a friend (“It’s never too late for you, Edie”) to scale the mountain she and her dad never got to – in the Scottish Highlands.
It’s here, as we tread into standard fish-out-of-water territory – the type mined capably in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, whose demographic Edie is desperate to secure – that the film mercifully picks up pace. Edie’s home life is hermetic, which is perhaps the point, but it seems to speak more to the movie’s budget than a deliberate creation of mood. Employing local boy Jonny (the charming Kevin Guthrie) to train her for the climb, they smooth out their prickly start through walks amidst the stunning Scottish landscapes.
Cinema doesn’t cater to narratives like Edie’s often, so there is a novel satisfaction gleaned from its representation of an older woman seeking meaning. Despite this, and the tremendous goodwill earned by Hancock and Guthrie, the feature never shifts into a higher gear. Scenes are played out in the most perfunctory way imaginable, pushing our main character up that mountain with a grating momentum. Edie’s bitterness is merited owing to her decades of subjugation at the hand of her husband, but it lends a dour tone to the first half, where she is a solidly unpleasant character, with predictable conflicts between her and Jonny at every turn. Her abrupt turn, then, into benign companion feels unbelievable – as does the film’s treatment of a woman who has suffered such trauma. Its comparisons between Edie’s marriage and Jonny’s relationship with an upstart local girl – whose loan application for her boyfriend’s store will saddle them both with decades of debt – rings hollow and trite. It’s a dull subplot, with absolutely zero pay-off, given that the feature’s cut-to-black ending at a pivotal moment leaves no room for a denouement.
The performances and story sound, on paper, like a charming, “unlikely bedfellows” film, but the absence of comedy and the predictable turns of the plot prevent the movie from scaling any great heights. The impressive aerial zooms of the Scottish Highlands and the standout turn from Guthrie aside, Edie is a forgettable walk in the park.
Edie is released nationwide on 25th May 2018.
Watch the trailer for Edie here: