Edie Review

Following the death of her husband, octogenarian Edie (Sheila Hancock) embarks on a long-overdue journey to conquer the great Scottish mountain Suilven. When her body can’t keep up with her brain, she recruits the help of a young local (Kevin Guthrie) to help with her mission.

by Beth Webb |
Published on
Release Date:

18 May 2018

Original Title:


It’s a sharp turn from his last film, 2008’s Mutant Chronicles, but director Simon Hunter nevertheless treads a familiar path with Edie, a warm but well-worn road movie that follows a woman’s journey through her new-found freedom.

Released from the shackles of a stifling marriage, widow Edie (Hancock) leaves an empty house and disapproving daughter to head for the Scottish Highlands. The goal is Suilven, the mountain Edie had intended to climb with her father before her marriage ended their relationship. A self-confessed former wild child now hardened by a lifetime of serving others, Edie’s elderly physique proves a problem, and affable local Jonny (Guthrie), desperate for some extra cash, steps in to help out.

Edie takes a commercial swerve, leaning into a mismatched comedy of errors.

It’s as the connection between Jonny and Edie evolves that the film folds in on itself, falling into the lure of the odd-couple caper. Jonny is a grandmother’s dream: laddish yet mild-mannered, with a moral compass that always points north after a little hesitation, while Edie is the cantankerous elderly woman who defies expectations with her bolshie demeanour. Both do very little to break their respective moulds and exist mostly to improve the life of the other one. Jonny teaches Edie to ride a bike and drink cider from a can, Edie reminds Jonny to seize the day. This is where the character development ends and a very black-and-white journey to the top begins. You can see the hurdles a mile away, which says a lot as Hunter favours increasingly vast, sweeping shots of the Scottish countryside — undeniably beautiful but at the expense of following Edie’s personal struggles from a close range.

This is the story that deserves to take centre stage: a woman who has sacrificed the relationship with a parent to serve a man with achingly traditional views on marriage and running a household, now alone for the first time, free to process her experiences and heal, moving forward renewed.

Hancock, a veteran stage and television actress with a career spanning over 50 years, is fully capable of harnessing a more intellectual and fierce film, using the desolate and unfamiliar terrain as a battleground for her and her ghosts. Instead, Edie takes a commercial swerve, leaning into a mismatched comedy of errors with a few stolen moments of authenticity. The tone is reliant on generational disconnects and gentle laughs at the expense of all involved, patched together with some lovely shots of Scotland on a clear day.

Edie lingers only briefly after it ends. Clearly a well-intentioned product of love from Hancock, who came up with the idea for the film, it’s a bracingly beautiful location film, but would benefit from a boot in a braver direction, giving Edie the spotlight she deserves.

Fleeting charm and pretty packaging will leave you partially satisfied but later craving a bolder film that puts its battle-worn title character to better use.

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