WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Greenwich Picturehouse
RELEASED IN THE UK: 25/5/18
‘I’m so fed up with the division between young and old in society,’ explains Sheila Hancock in a Q&A after a preview screening of her new film about a widow who befriends a guide many years her junior as she attempts to climb a Scottish mountain.
- Read on for reasons including more about Hancock’s young co-star in this
‘There’s so much we can learn from another,’ explains the actress.
It’s a theme that will be familiar to those who saw her on stage in the West End recently in Harold and Maude at the Charing Cross Theatre earlier this year.
She explains that at 85 years of age she has eight great grandchildren who she wants to see do well.
‘These days I’m just pleased if I get to the end of a script and my character is still alive. Things are improving and I think that there are more parts for women now but I don’t think that there are too many like this.’
Edie tells the story of a woman in her 80s trapped for years in a difficult marriage who decides that she’s going to do something for herself when freedom beckons.
‘Did you get the feeling from it that it’s never too late to learn new things?’ she asks this Greenwich Picturehouse preview audience.
She’s in part asking because she hasn’t seen the film because she finds it difficult to watch her own performances because she expects to be so critical of them.
There’s a contradiction here because she also talks about the joy of overcoming fear, specifically stage fright, making success all the more worthwhile.
Hancock is so good in Edie that it’s a wonder that she’s not worked more in film but the point she makes 1st in this Q&A is that: ‘I haven’t done much movie acting but the truth is that when I was younger I wasn’t considered attractive enough.’
This packed Q&A is a sign perhaps of how things are changing and that there is clearly an audience for an inspirational film like Edie.
Reminiscing about the challenges of making it, she recalls how she is thought to be the oldest person ever to climb to the summit of Mount Suilven.
‘As we were about to start the first assistant told me that once we started climbing we couldn’t stop because the helicopter could only land at the top.’
The script called for her to punch the air when she reached the top but she refused because it wasn’t the feeling generated by her experience.
‘It was just breathtaking. You can’t do anything. I didn’t feel diminished, I just felt part of nature, which was amazing.’
Her crew was younger than her and she describes how this teamwork spurred all of them on to the summit.
‘I was constantly thinking: ‘Why am I doing this?’ But it was the one of the most satisfying jobs I’ver ever done and as a life experience it was amazing.’
It is this achievement which contributes to the sense of what a feel good film Edie is and that age should be no barrier to attempting new things and getting more out of life.
Especially touching is the relationship with her young co-star Kevin Guthrie (Dunkirk, Fantastic Beasts, Sunset Song, Sunshine On Leith) whose character, one suspects, gets as much from Edie‘s experience as she does.
What we liked best about the film is the fearlessness with which our heroine tackles the gigantic challenges she chooses for herself: a real unexpected joy.