After the death of her control obsessive husband, whom she cared for until his end, her daughter (Wendy Morgan) would like to put 84 years old Edie (Sheila Hancock) into a retirement home. But she does not even think about it. Rather, she decides to fulfill a life-long dream and to climb the Suilven, an iconic mountain in the scottish highlands. She employs Jonny (Kevin Guthrie) to get her the right equipment and prepare her for the strenuous ascension. As they get to know each other better and better, they reveal more and more details of their lives to each other.
When the british acting legend Sheila Hancock first read the screenplay for EDIE, she did not realize, that she actually had to climb this mountain herself – because usually you’re just using greenscreens for that these days. However, this was not an option for the director Simon Hunter and maybe that’s exactly the secret, that makes this film so unique.
But even after this missunderstanding had cleared up, Sheila Hancock did not think of retreating. If there was ever a role to play, in which the 84-year-old does not have to die or go senile, then you just could not turn it down. Of course during the shoot, there have been moments at which she would’ve loved to give up, but to see how the whole team bravely climbed the mountain as well with all the equipment, has been enough motivation.
EDIE hat its debut in June 2017 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and was celebrated enthusiastically. Two sold-out screening and another one – of course sold out too – within the Best-of-the-Fest series on the last days of the festival speak volumes. The film took me from the first to the last minute and never let go – so much, that I watched it twice at the festival.
Simon Hunter does everything right with his film. Together with his DOP (Director of Photography) August Jakobsson Íks, he captures the rough and pure beauty of the scottish highlands with impressive images. The story that Hunter wrote together with Edward Lynden-Bell and which Elizabeth O’Halloran turned into a screenplay, is beautiful and goes straight to the heart. The characters are elaborated to the point and all actors fill their roles with so much passion, that one leaves the cinema with a pleasant feeling in the end.
Especially in times, when the separation between old and young seems to be getting bigger and bigger – just have alook at the voting result for Brexit in the UK – it’s nice when a film shows a friendship between two people so different at first sight, who ultimately give each other strength and the courage to face life. The fact that everything does not appear to be stilted or artificial, is a great merit of the film.
EDIE may play in Scotland, but the story is universal and works in every culture. At this point, however, we can only hope that a German distributor will recognize the beauty of this film and bring it to our cinemas. But if Sheila Hancock can climb a mountain at the age of 84, then this should be possible.
During the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2017, I was able to talk to Sheila Hancock and Kevin Guthrie about EDIE:
At the International Filmfest Emden-Norderney in June 2018 I had the chance to talk to director Simon Hunter about the journey of EDIE since the premiere in Edinburgh almost one year ago:
Edie (United Kingdom 2017)
Simon Hunter, Edward Lynden-Bell, Elizabeth O’Halloran
Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie, Paul Brannigan, Amy Manson, Wendy Morgan