- Matthew Turner
- 21 May 2018
Sheila Hancock shines at the centre of an inspiring, unashamedly feel-good story
Veteran access Sheila Hancock (now 85) headlines this unashamedly feel-good picture with its inspirational, albeit slightly irresponsible central message. It's a strong showcase for Hancock's considerable talent, even if it is somewhat formulaic in its execution.
Hancock plays Edie, who's been trapped in a loveless marriage for the past 30 years, to a seriously ill husband. His death brings literal release and, prompted by the discovery of an old postcard from her father, Edie hops on board the Caledonian Sleeper, intending to fulfil her lifelong dream of climbing Mount Suilven in the Scottish Highlands. On arrival in nearby Lochinver she meets directionless young mountaineering shop co-owner Jonny (Kevin Guthrie), who agrees to accompany her on her determined, seemingly unachievable quest.
The film's appeal lies in the engaging relationship between the two leads and director Simon Hunter gives their bonding process room to breathe, taking them from bickering and exasperated to mutual respect and friendship in convincing, if predictable fashion. He's aided by a pair of exceptionally charming performances from Hancock and Guthrie, and the chemistry between them is as sweet as a bar of Kendal Mint Cake.
The script's message – that life is for living and chances should be seized – is undeniably uplifting, but it does make you worry that elderly relatives will take heed and immediately head for the Scottish Highlands. To be fair, the film isn't oblivious to its responsibilities here, generating a degree of tension from the fact that its protagonist is physically unprepared for the journey she has undertaken.
Edie may as well be an advert for VisitScotland, thanks to its stunning Highland landscapes; August Jakobsson deserves credit for some truly striking cinematography – making enthusiastic use of a drone camera, to occasionally distracting effect.
General release from Fri 25 May.