Cast: Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie, Paul Brannigan, Amy Manson
Direct: Simon Hunter
I’m not traditionally big on some of these, “I am woman hear me roar” type movies aimed at women in the twilight of their lives, but every once in a while some of them end up being a solid piece of entertainment that maintains the integrity of the message while also doing something interesting. Edie fits that example and does a decent job of showing that aging is a natural part of life, but it’s not the end of our lives. Captivating, interesting, and well-acted, Edie is enticing enough not to be a burden and provides an average level of entertainment over the course of 102 minutes.
The film follows Edie (Hancock), an elderly woman whose long-term husband has recently passed away. Due to her old age and inability to do everything on her own, her family decides it would be best if she moved into a retirement home where she spends her time doing menial and boring tasks while being standoffish towards the people in this community. Wanting to accomplish the dreams of her youth before her life is over, Edie ventures out to hike in the Scottish Highlands like she promised her father she would. While not as energetic or physically capable as she was when she was married, Edie uses this as an opportunity to reflect on her life, how her marriage didn’t give her everything she was looking for, and how she wants to spend the rest of her time. From a very conceptual point of view, the movie does a good job of looking inwards at someone who has spent the best years of her life feeling controlled and in the shadow of her husband. It never actually shows any tangible examples of this happening, but we can assume it happens just from the way Edie responds in her scenes. While it’s nice to see someone in Edie’s position explore opportunities in their life and try to accomplish their dreams, we’ve just seen this concept done better in the past. Take a movie like The Wife which while not identical in structure has similar ideas and concepts in play. When the acting, story, and character development are all superior in The Wife, that’s the level of competition that a movie like Edie is constantly going up against. I can give Edie a pass since it’s a smaller movie that will be more recognized in the UK, but there needs to be something here that resonates with viewers from around the world. The general themes and landscape shots will do this, but the movie doesn’t go quite as deep as it could to leave a lasting impact. Hancock’s performance in the leading role is strong enough to prevent the movie from falling off the rails, but I wish there was just a bit more of an emphasis on her development to make the movie more complete. We see glimpses of this from time to time, but Edie doesn’t quite bring it all together by the end of the movie.
Overall, Edie is heartwarming and entertaining, but at the same time it isn’t complete enough to be a truly great movie. Maybe this is a movie that will be better received by British audiences, but for anyone else there are better examples of these themes created by people from your own country. With such universal themes like growing old and unfulfilled dreams, it’s a shame Edie didn’t deliver on a premise that was set up for it to succeed. There’s certainly an audience out there for a movie like Edie, but I’m not exactly sure how many people will go out of their way to be apart of that audience.
Overall Score: 6/10