THE MOST ENLIGHTENING TRIP WITH HAROLD FRY
Well, now on your marks, get set and here we go ... off to begin a most enlightening trip with Harold Fry.
I can only state what an amazing journey it is, too.
Harold Fry embarks upon his pilgrimage in an unforeseen and unplanned set of circumstances, taking some special others he encounters with him along the way ... and leaving his extremely perplexed wife behind. However, even Maureen (Mrs Fry) links in with him during key stages of his pilgrimage, both by telephone and in person.
We, the viewing audience, are swept along, dragged along, bounced along, stumbling and tripping up, exhilarated and exhausted ... but involved at all times.
The storyline is seemingly quite a simple one, low-key and understated in many ways as events begin to unfold. The story does introduce enigmatic elements, such as the character of Queenie Hennessy and what she means to Harold Fry, so significant is the impact of her message upon him.
We learn of her serious illness and her contact with her work friend from across the years and across the country. Harold Fry makes his pilgrim journey from the south west of England to Berwick upon Tweed, beginning and ending all alone, seeming to be compelled and walking all the way with absolute minimum baggage. Material and creature comforts and even necessities are cast aside.
The character of Harold Fry's son introduces another enigmatic element to the mix.
There are two majorly significant reveals as the events continue apace ... and the story of such an apparently ordinary man starts to become anything but. The extraordinariness is unveiled by means of the powerful forces and undercurrents at play, being subdued and repressed in what seems to be a sedentary existence.
The pilgrimage allows a whole process to unfold and to be confronted and reflected upon . The journey motif is such a metaphor for the human experience and is something so powerfully expressed here. The themes identified are certainly not for the faint hearted ... but they are themes that are all too human and expressive of how understanding can be sought and reached even amidst the most extremely distressing circumstances and trials.
Redemption and forgiveness and hope are all integral to this film's themes. The latter two are beautifully expressed in images at the end of the film, incorporating small gestures as gifts to others ... colours and light and bringing together those included in Harold Fry's journey.
I was party to an opinion expressed about the theme of redemption as the film concluded ... and I could not agree more. Overall, there's a huge amount going on.
If this all sounds dramatic ... then it is! There were also some lighter touches along the way, offering wry humour and even some chuckles on occasion. I readily confess to brimming with tears at times during this film.
The cast is nothing short of excellent. This comes as no surprise with actors such as Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton in the leads. There are extremely well cast supporting roles too. The soundtrack is evocative and atmospheric. The photography allows panoramic scope, taking in as it does such marvellous locations across the UK.
I rate my experience of this film very highly indeed. So much so that I'm planning to read the book upon which it is based again.
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