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The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

When Harold discovers that his long-time colleague Queenie is dying, he initially wants to write her, but at the mailbox he has another idea: he decides to walk from Devon in the south of England to the hospice where Queenie is in Scotland.

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No one sends letters anymore. This is why pensioner Harold Fry (Jim Broadbent) is bewildered to receive a handwritten letter from his former colleague Queenie (Linda Bassett). She wants to say goodbye because she is in a hospice with terminal cancer. When Harold makes his way to the mailbox with a puny response, he gets another idea after a brief exchange with a young clerk at the local gas station: he decides to walk from Devon in southern England to Berwick-upon-Tweed on the border of Scotland in order to give his letter to Queenie in person. He leaves his wife Maureen (Penelope Wilton) feeling indignant and hurt at home. For Harold the matter is clear: he believes that he can save Queenie by marching all across the country for her. His strange plan isn’t totally selfless. He didn’t do enough to prevent his son’s suicide years ago, and so he wants to repent. When a doctor explains that once someone is in hospice, they can’t be “saved“ any longer, Harold politely smiles and continues on his path resolutely.

Hettie Macdonald’s drama is a slow road movie without a car but with a symbolic character: like when a woman (Monika Gossmann) picks up the exhausted Harold off the street, washing the wounds on his feet, as if he were Jesus. The screenplay by writer Rachel Joyce is adapted from her own novel. Grief and guilt, faith and hope, kindness and humanity are the big themes that slowly crystallize from the story. Ultimately it is on Jim Broadbent to carry the film with dignity and warmth and he, like Harold, is up to the task.

Pamela Jahn (INDIEKINO MAGAZIN)

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
Großbritannien 2023, 108 min
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Director: Hettie Macdonald
Author: Rachel Joyce
DOP: Kate McCullough
Montage: Jon Harris, Napoleon Stratogiannakis
Distributor: Constantin Film Verleih
Cast: Jim Broadbent, Penelope Wilton, Monika Gossmann
Release: 26.10.2023

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Screenings

  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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