Based upon the novel by Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is the story of Harold (Jim Broadbent), an ordinary man, who lives in South Devon with his wife Maureen (Penelope Wilton). One day he receives a letter in the post. From former colleague and friend Queenie Hennessy (Linda Bassett), she is writing to tell him that she’s dying of cancer. Harold comes up with a reply and sets out to mail it. But instead of slipping the letter through the slot, he keeps walking. The further he goes, he decides that as long as he keeps walking, Queenie must wait for him, for he will save her.
Having only recently been made aware of this story, I jumped at the chance to read the book before the film released in cinemas. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into and I truly believe it’s one of the best books I’ve read so far this year (and I’ve read a lot). Suffice to say the adaption had a lot to live up to, but luckily I was left satisfied.
If you are looking for something that is constantly moving and has many twists along the way, this won’t be for you. That is precisely one of the reasons why I love it so much. On the surface, it appears to be about one thing, but as the story goes on, you learn so much more about Harold and his life. The themes that come along with it are a mixed bag that kept me invested all the way through.
Broadbent does a wonderful job as our main character. His mannerisms and the way his eyes go big to convey the smallest look are absolutely perfect. It was everything that I envisioned while reading about him. Wilton, alternatively, may not seem so supporting at the beginning, but she still delivers a standout performance as Harold’s wife.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry punched me in the gut from the get go. The emotions I felt while watching were heightened because everything I felt while reading the book was well executed on screen. Not only does it capture those fleeting moments and it really does make you want to be a better person.