2018 Oscars Best Documentary Short nominee: ‘Edith+Eddie’ shows hardships of finding love late in life

Can love survive being attacked by outside forces? That’s the question that is at the center of “Edith+Eddie,” one of the five nominees for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 90th Oscars. The film marks the first nomination for both Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright. The film has also won awards at several festivals and ceremonies including being named Best Short by the International Documentary Association Awards.

The film centers around Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison, a newlywed couple at the respective ages of 96 and 95. Hill and Harrison are living in Alexandria, Virginia and while Edith does have mild dementia, both take care of each other with the assistance of one of Edith’s daughters, Rebecca. But Edith’s other daughter, Patricia who lives in Florida, does not look kindly on the relationship as she believes it will interfere with her inheritance. Patricia gets a judge to appoint a guardian for Edith who decides to that it is in Edith’s best interests to be taken to Florida to live with Patricia.

It all comes to a head when Patricia arrives in Virginia with the guardian to take Edith to Florida. When Edith refuses to leave, the police are called and forcibly remove her from her home that she shares with Eddie. As the amount of time that Edith away grows longer, Eddie begins to realize that Edith isn’t coming back. Eddie falls ill, is hospitalized and later passes away without Edith by his side.

Can this story of love seeking to overcome all odds actually prevail on Oscar night? Here are the pros and cons that “Edith+Eddie” brings to the race.

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Pros
The documentary is incredibly moving. It’s impossible to watch this and not feel a huge amount of sympathy for the titular couple and what they are forced to go through.

The doc does touch on the important issue of elder abuse and that could give it an extra factor of significance for voters to consider.

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Cons
The issue of elder abuse is an important one but other issues addressed by this year’s contenders (including the opioid crisis, post-prison life and racial issues with police) feel much more timely.

While it does address elder abuse, the film doesn’t seek to explain the issue in a larger context.

The film ends on a very abrupt note after Eddie’s death. It doesn’t go into the continued legal fight for Edith to return to Virginia.

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