For those who are still in the process of finding Ms. or Mr. Right, “stuck” in a dormant relationship or spending more time surfing the Internet for shallow moments of international satisfaction, a viewing of Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement is highly recommended. (To be sure, those happily immersed with, caring, loving long-term partners will also savour the production.)
Two disparate women (Thea fled the persecution of Jews in Holland via England before making her way to New York City; Edie discovered herself in the covey of Greenwich Village and environs bars where she could prowl for women into the wee hours) finally connect in the Hamptons (Thea never wanted for money, just as Edie had the hutzpah to track her down in digs above her station). Soon it’s love at first dance, then keeping their cards filled for the next four decades before finally marrying in Canada, formalizing a wonderful life together just months before Thea’s would end.
Directors/writers Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir have most certainly gained the trust of their fascinating subjects. From the opening magic lantern show, it’s immediately apparent that few stones will remain unturned from early first dates to present-day water therapy (since 1976, Thea has struggled with progressive MS, her honesty and courage as she describes and struggles with the disease is as heroic as Edie’s unwavering devotion is a telling example of love of the deepest kind).
Even with one of them in a wheelchair, the pair still “kick up their heels,” filling the screen with such affectionate movement that those watching at home might well roll back the rug and join in.
While gay issues from Stonewall to same-sex marriage are worked into the mix, the success of the film stems from its makers creating a beautifully personal family atmosphere that welcomes everyone on both sides of the lens. With songs such as “Love Is in the Air” and Karl Henry’s inventive score reinforcing the mood and tone, there’s not much left to say but “thanks” to all concerned for sharing their memories and insights into the human experience. JWR