Imagine your mind has been wiped: memories, knowledge, experiences, language - every word you ever spoke, has vanished. If eventually you found the words, what would you say? For Edwyn Collins, 'The Possibilities Are Endless'.
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The Possibilities Are Endless tells the incredible story of Edwyn Collins, the Scottish songwriter who suffered a stroke, an explosion in the brain so severe that it effectively deleted the contents of his mind. After a career as an internationally acclaimed lyricist, he lost all language and was only able to say two phrases: "The Possibilities are Endless" and "Grace Maxwell". The film is narrated by Edwyn, trapped inside his devastated mind and his wife Grace, the woman who pulled him back to life. More than just a story of determination against all odds; it is an intimate and life-affirming journey of rediscovery that celebrates how love, music and language shape our lives.Written by
I should probably start this review by disclosing that I've been a fan of Edwyn since he released his fantastic solo album "Hope and Despair" in 1989, and have followed his career closely since then.
You probably know Edwyn from his song "a girl like you" which was a huge hit in 1995. Less of you will know that he had a stroke 10 years later, leaving him unable to walk, read or write. His speech was also severely affected, "yes", "no", "Grace Maxwell" ( Edwyns wife), and peculiarly, "the possibilities are endless" being the he only words he could say.
The film chronicles the story of Edwyns recovery from those harrowing times up to the present day, but not in a standard documentary style, instead using abstract images and audio of Edwyn talking about his experience, creating an eerie atmosphere, perhaps trying to recreate the confusion felt by Edwyn after his stroke.
The later part of the film is more straightforward, and not as "arty farty" as Edwyn put it! It shows the extraordinary relationship between Grace and Edwyn, Grace having fought so hard to help Edwyn in his recovery. The bond between the two would melt the hardest of hearts, and is the real star of the movie. It's a love story about them, and to life itself. Don't worry though, it's not a Mills and Boon novel, there is plenty of good humour and bickering between the pair.
The filmmakers deserve credit for not going down the mawkish, misery memoir route, which would have been easy to do. Instead they let the the protagonists tell their own story, allowing Edwyn plenty of space to do so.
The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, using music performed by Edwyn and two of his musical collaborators Carywn Ellis and Seb Lewsley.
It's not often a music documentary can move one to tears, but this marvellous film manages it. I defy anyone to watch and not be moved by the remarkable recovery made by Edwyn, and I can't recommend the film highly enough.
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