The Grand Seduction

In the small harbor village of Tickle Head, Newfoundland, the plight of a proud dwindling fishing community, who have long ago lost their traditional way of life, are now living a miserable and unsatisfying existence on welfare.

An English Canadian remake of a French Canadian film called Seducing Dr. Lewis (2003); The Grand Seduction does a surprisingly deft job of telling a moving and heartfelt tale of hope and optimism with a combination of humor and poignant reflection.

Coming from a proud tradition of sea farers, the small community is slowly dying and the few remaining residents are determined to do what is necessary to keep their way of life.

The film is reminiscent in many respects of the sleeper hit of 1983 Local Hero, about a Scottish coastal village that is being courted by a big Oil Company that wants to build a refinery on their land and sends a scout to get a sense of the locals.

The way the people from this coastal fishing cove go about reinventing themselves is often both desperate and hilarious but the film maintains a truthfulness that keeps the story believable at all times.

The Grand Seduction is also an elaborate hoax or lie perpetrated by the local mayor (Brendan Gleeson) to get an oil company to build a repurposing facility in their town and create much needed jobs. There are a number of requirements that stand as hurdles in their path to prosperity. One of which is that they must have a doctor living permanently in their town. 

But to get this doctor they must somehow convince a young na├»ve plastic surgeon (Taylor Kitsch) from the big city to spend a month in their remote run down collection of shacks and make him believe that it’s the best place on earth to live. Not an easy task by any means.

Coming off two big blockbuster films that performed disastrously at the box office, John Carter (2012) and Battleship (2012), Taylor Kitsch has finally found a fun, meaningful project grounded in character and emotionally satisfying.

Armed with knowledge from a tapped phone line about his private life and tastes, the town’s people come up with all manner of unorthodox ways to impress the doctor and make their village more attractive; a makeover in the form of a beautification project and a new found enthusiasm for the doctor’s favorite sport, cricket.

The breathtaking windswept rocky sea side locations of Newfoundland’s harbors and inlets make for an authentic experience where one can imagine the hardships that many of these small communities have endured. There is a sense of loss and hopelessness in the older generation as friends and family have moved away to other places in search of jobs.

As the young city doctor falls prey to their seemingly well-meaning lies and manipulations, the town seems to be willing to go to almost any length to secure their future. Naturally, he is seduced by the simple charms and warm inviting way of life as they eagerly welcome him as one of their own. But for how long can they keep up the charade?

English Canadian cinema has so often disappointed me in the past, but I am pleased to say that this charming Canadian gem is far better than I imagined. 



Shiran said...

Nice Review. Looking forward to seeing this little gem of a movie.

jacquie said...

This does sound like a little gem. I'll watch for it!

Lenie Hokansson said...

Hi John - I don't normally care for Canadian productions but this sounds like a neat movie. thanks for introducing it - I'll be watching for it.

Meredith Wouters said...

This sounds like one I'd really like. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a perfect escape film for a rainy day. Thank you

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of other celebrated films like The Full Monty and the one where Daniel Craig swims the English Channel; can't remember the name. They are usually heart warming even if based on a sad premise.

Donna Janke said...

I haven't heard about this movie until now. It sounds worth looking for. Thanks.

Mina Joshi said...

You have got me very interested now. I will be looking out for this film.