‘Edie’ Review: Peak Sentimentality
Treading wearily on the heels of last year’s “Finding Your Feet” and this year’s “Poms,” Simon Hunter’s “Edie” is the latest in a creaky line of fogey-fulfillment narratives. Yet, because the cantankerous title character is played by the marvelous Sheila Hancock — one of the true grandes dames of British entertainment — I allowed myself to hope.
That lasted for about 15 minutes, during which we meet the newly widowed Edie, an abrasive octogenarian, and learn exactly how much she had loathed the disabled husband she had spent 30 years caring for.
“I did my duty,” she spits at her appalled daughter, who can’t wait to pack her off to a retirement home. Instead, Edie decides to realize a dream of her father’s and climb a mountain in the Scottish Highlands. Reluctantly acquiring a handsome young guide, Jonny (Kevin Guthrie), Edie hauls herself through bad weather, boggy ground and a journey packed with crabby bickering and corny odd-couple misadventures. Any attempt to resist the movie’s updraft of sentiment is countered by a repetitive, ear-pummeling score and the picturesque time-filling of August Jakobsson’s lush Highland landscapes.
The result is a scenic saccharin bomb that Edie’s long-simmering anger can’t defuse. Hancock is wasted here, as are the meaty dramatic threads that Elizabeth O’Halloran’s formulaic screenplay never bothers to pull. Edie’s daughter is left to flounce off, their relationship unresolved and the strain of extended obligation — a growing concern for many in an aging population — unexplored. That stress is also evident in Jonny’s clear discomfort with his bossy girlfriend’s entrepreneurial plans, and a better movie might have used Edie’s bitterness to warn him of resentments to come.
This one would rather use it as comic relief.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes.
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