Well…good news, bad news! The bad news is that, due to technical problems which I have to sort out before Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 3 comes out next week, I couldn’t actually sort out Peetimes for The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry. The good news is that it is, pretty much, the first film I’ve seen in years that doesn’t need one! Throw in to it that there doesn’t appear to be a US release date and, therefore, the majority of RunPee users won’t need one. However, it has proven to be quite popular over here so let’s take a look shall we?
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry is based on a novel by Rachel Joyce. It tells the story of a chap called Harold Fry( Jim Broadbent) who receives a letter from Queenie Hennessy (Linda Bassett). Queenie is in a hospice suffering from terminal cancer. Harold composes a reply to the letter and sets off to post it. On the way to the letter box he calls in at a petrol station and chats with the “Blue Haired Girl” (Nina Singh). She chats about her aunt who has seriously ill and a ray of light shines across her. We know it’s probably a car turning on the forecourt but Harold thinks it is a sign.
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You Keep Living
Harold decides for unspecified reasons (insert willing suspension of disbelief here) that if he can walk to her she will stay alive. The problem is that Harold lives in Devon while Queenie’s hospice is in Berwick-upon-Tweed. For those not in the know, Devon is, pretty much, as far South as you can go while Berwick-upon-Tweed is, very nearly, in Scotland. That’s about four hundred and fifty miles for those from outside of the UK. He decides that if he can walk there then she will live. This is a film where it is best not to ask too many questions!
On the way news and social media kicks in and we start finding ourselves in what is, virtually, a remake of The Last Bus when Timothy Spall made a spontaneous journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End for reasons that become apparent during the course of the film. Similarly, during The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry the story is unveiled bit by bit. Also similarly to The Last Bus is the intrusion/intervention/involvement of social media.
And I’ll Keep Walking
So, yes, there are similarities. Both feature an older man starting out on a solo, epic adventure. Part way through they become famous and attract the attention of the wider world. And, as the story unfolds, we find out what is the driving force behind each man’s odyssey. Of course there are differences too. Jim Broadbent walked from South to North while Timothy Spall went the other way by bus. Jim’s wife is played by Penelope Wilton while Tim’s was Phyllis Logan; this swings back round to similarities as both women appeared in Downton Abbey.
Another thing that both had in common was that they were both appreciated by my good lady wife. The current Mrs Williams is a very discerning woman, she married me after all, and she won’t just go and watch anything that’s on like I will. As a result, we don’t often go to the cinema together. I show her many trailers but few make the cut; the next one we’re going to see together is Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret while I’ll be in for Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 as soon as it opens! In short, The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry is a beautifully shot, beautifully acted paean to the English countryside. I don’t know if it’ll get a Stateside showing but It’s worth a look if it does.
Movie Grade: A-
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!