Every journey starts with a first step – unless you’re on one of those electric scooters. And in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, those first steps make their way through Devon in epic journey that describes a latter day coming of age.
Kingsbridge, Loddiswell, South Brent, Higher Dean, Buckfast, Exeter, Tiverton and Appledore all feature as Harold Fry traverses the country on foot from his South Devon home to Up Country.
It’s based on the book by Rachel Joyce and is the story of one man’s pilgrimage from Kingsbridge in Devon to Berwick Upon Tweed.
Jim Broadbent plays Harold Fry who considers even a letter as too impersonal a communication to a dying friend. Along the way, the country shapes him as regret and routine are discarded along with bshoe leather. Penelope Wilton is the wife who has been left at home wondering what the heck is going on as her hubby’s exploits are picked up and their distance grows.
The film was shot in chronological order, and although the cast and crew didn’t actually walk the whole way, they did visit the Devon locations.
“We selected our locations, and even our shots, based on what felt right for the emotional landscape of the scene,” said director Hettie Macdonald.
“And because we were moving sequentially, Jim was naturally able to roughen up as he moved through the country. With a great actor they just ‘have to be it’, and “you can read it – and luckily for us, we had Jim Broadbent.
“I think it’s given us something so visually strong, because it’s real: Jim really was weathered, he really was out there walking. It fed into his performance in such a beautiful way.”
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is in cinemas on Friday 28 April.
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