Opening on September 6th, the British film Edie follows a recently widowed woman, played by the engaging Sheila Hancock, as she decides to tackle a long-held and elusive dream—and, one understands, it may be her last chance to do so. The movie has some familiar devices: The character Edie is a prickly one; she sacrificed her happiness over the years for the sake of others; and her daughter is trying to put her into a senior residence.
Edie heads off on her own, with little warning, to quite literally climb a mountain: Mount Suilven in the Scottish Highlands, all 2,400 feet of it. While the movie’s plot may feel predictable and the intrusive soundtrack may annoy, by the time Edie and her young guide are nearing the mountain top amidst stunning scenery, it’s hard not to feel buoyed.
A Woman in Her Peak Years
As interesting as the film itself is, its star, Sheila Hancock, is just as compelling. Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she is a hugely respected actor, earning many nominations (including a Tony) and awards for her work on stage in both London and New York. She’s appeared in Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, and Entertaining Mr. Sloane. She has also been on the TV series Doctor Who and EastEnders.
Now age 86, Sheila—a widow, like the role she played—actually climbed Mount Suilven while filming Edie, making her one of the oldest women ever to do so. One aspect of filming this movie was not her favorite: Camping as she made her way to the summit. “I hate it. I’ve never been so cold,” she has commented, “and going to the toilet is a nightmare.” But still, she persevered. In interviews, she has said, “At my age, you realize you have limited years—you’re greedy for experience.” – Janet Siroto