EDIE,   UK, 2017.  Starring Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie. Directed by Simon Hunter. 103 minutes. Rated M (Coarse Language).

Whew – and applause! The expression and feeling of this reviewer at the final close-up and triumphant image of Edie.

Edie? She is Edith Moore, an elderly widow, her daughter helping her to pack up house and moved to an aged care facility. She is getting ready to go – but, obviously, not at all ready when she visits the place. As she goes through her things, her daughter finding a diary in which Edie expressed her private responses to the hardships of her life, of control her controlling husband. She also finds a picture of a Scottish mountain which she climbed with her devoted father.

She gets a brainwave – one which her family and friends would not endorse, and the audience wonders whether this is a good idea or not. What about going back to that mountain in Scotland? What about climbing it? She packs her bags, take some money, please a message on her daughters and answering machine and takes the train to Inverness.

What seems a momentary annoyance at Inverness Station, a young man and his girlfriend rushing for the train, bumping Edie and knocking her over, turns out to be a happily fortuitous encounter. When the bus doesn’t come for several hours, he gives her a lift, helps her with accommodation because the town is booked out, lets her stay at his house. And the interesting thing is that he is working in a camping shop.

This all happens fairly early in the film so we know where we’re going, we know that we are going with Edie. At one stage, John, exasperated with her says she is like a cranky cow – and then agrees that she is a cranky cow. And, though we are more sympathetic at first because we know her, she actually is something of a cranky cow.

The point is what does one do with one’s life. What choices do we make, especially after living life with its regrets, wanting to change some of life if we could? Should there be a final quest? And, of course, should there be a final quest which is so demanding as an elderly lady camping out, rowing across a lake, climbing a mountain?

Needless to say, the Scottish Highlands scenery is beautiful even if the touch barren. But, as Edie goes on her journey, we are made to feel every step with her, the exhilaration, the physical and mental demands, the beauty, the bad weather – and the relief of finding a hunters hut with shelter and warmth for a night. Will she climbed to the top of the mountain and place a stone on the canyon there as she did in the past? What will John do, initially shamed by helping her for the money she gave him, helping her with the equipment, and the dilemma whether to go to her rescue or not?

Sheila Hancock has been in films and on television for many decades. She is quite a stream screen presence as Edie. Strong-minded and strong-willed, a touch imperious, a touch cantankerous, but a woman who wants to make something of her life.

Transmission                        Released June 21st

Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.

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