Review / ‘Edie’ (M) ****

FOLLOWING three decades of caring for a vegetable husband and three years after his death, Edie decides to spend her remaining years doing her own thing.

The bulk of Scottish writer/director Simon Hunter’s film takes place in the land of my forebears where the impact and range of its exteriors combine beauty with savage obstacles to display an environment that delivers profound visual quality.

Hunter’s screenplay well understands what drives Edie to fill a backpack with ancient camping gear stored in the attic of her London home and take the Caledonian sleeper train to Inverness and the coach to Lochinvar village from where she intends to walk up Mount Suilven, which she has only ever seen from a postcard sent decades earlier.

Getting to Suilven’s base is a powerful challenge before beginning the long, rough, exposed walk to add a stone to the cairn that previous walkers have built on its summit.

Edie unintentionally finds local help in the form of camping-shop owner Jonny (Kevin Guthrie) who, at first reluctantly, puts Edie through a preparatory fitness regime before setting her alone, at her own insistence, on the track to the summit.

This is not an adventure for a city-bred octogenarian woman. Sheila Hancock has been one of my heroines since I picked up a copy of “The Two of Us”, her book telling the story of her 29-year marriage to actor John Thaw until his death in 2002. She is a force to be reckoned with when confronting the camera, dignified, subtle, brave, compellingly attractive in an unconventional sense. I cannot imagine any other 84-year-old woman playing Edie and doing her own stunts.

See the film, read the book. Both deliver rewards.

At Palace Electric and Dendy

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