Sometimes, the right film can hit the perfect sweet spot for the right audience. That was our experience screening EDIE for the loveliest group of guests at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden this week.
Our invitees were influencers from Age UK, Mothers’ Union, Rotary, Central London Outdoor Group and the Ramblers’ Association. Director Simon Hunter introduced the film by praising his star Sheila Hancock, stating that the project simply wouldn’t have worked with anybody else.
Everything we see onscreen, he told the audience, Sheila actually did: there’s no bluescreen, no stunt doubles. Just a very determined actress who put in the hours at the gym, went to Nordic Walking training – and climbed a mountain.
A fantastic testament to the healing power of connecting with nature and pushing your boundaries. Stunning. – Head of Engagement, The Ramblers
EDIE tells a deliberately simple story. Embittered older woman Edith Moore (Hancock) contemplates a wasted life in the wake of her husband’s death. Her marriage has been unhappy; having a daughter was a matter of duty. Her last memory of happiness is her wild childhood, and her loving relationship with her late father.
Then she remembers a trip that she and her father talked about but never took, to climb Mount Suilven in the Scottish Highlands. On a whim she gets on a train and sets off for Scotland, to take on the adventure that she never got to have.
Her guide for the journey is Jonny (Kevin Guthrie), a young local whose scepticism melts as he sees beneath Edie’s tough exterior. The film is the story of their blossoming friendship, and of Edie reclaiming the joy she thought she’d lost.
Stunning acting, beautiful scenery, inspirational story. – CEO, Mothers’ Union
EDIE is essentially a two-hander, and both leads are fantastic. Sheila Hancock brings spiky attitude but also pain and vulnerability to the title role. She’s ably complemented by Kevin Guthrie, who’s low-key and naturalistic. The other main player is Mount Suilven itself, and the swathes of gorgeous Scottish scenery which will have audiences reaching for their hiking boots.
We had hikers in our audience, and also people whose work entails challenging negative perceptions about old age. The response in the room was overwhelmingly positive and quite emotional, with a flurry of interested questions directed at Simon after the credits rolled. There was a lot of love for Sheila, as well as queries about how the climb was achieved, and praise for the film’s refreshing portrayal of later life.
Inspirational. (I may even go camping now). Life affirming. Brilliant. – CEO, Age UK Barnet
‘I’m 100% trying to change perceptions about age,’ said Simon, of the intention behind EDIE. ‘It’s something to push against at all ages, the idea that you can’t do something new. As life goes on you can get more and more afraid of failure. But the ability to believe that it’s never too late, that’s all in the mind.’ He emphasised that EDIE was very much a labour of love, made on a tight budget – and urged those present to spread the word. ‘With little a film like this, competing with the big boys at the box office, word of mouth is absolutely key.’
Audience members also touched on the way the film portrays an inter-generational friendship – something which is quite unusual onscreen, and perhaps sadly lacking offscreen. EDIE offers a reminder of how it can enrich our lives when wisdom is shared between the young and the old.
‘I wept buckets,’ one audience member confessed to us as she left the venue. ‘Don’t tell anyone.’
Uplifting. Inspirational. Compelling. Fantastic. Endearing. Gentle. Incredible. Incredible again! – CEO, Age UK Hounslow
EDIE is in cinemas from 25th May. Find you nearest cinema showing the film at ediefilm.co.uk