run time: 113 mins
director: Don McKellar
starring: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent, Anna Hopkins, Rhonda Rodgers, Carly Boone, Mark Critch, Steve O’Connell, Michael Therriault, Matt Watts
movie summary: A small town called Tickle Cove in Newfoundland, Canada was once a booming fishing town with hundreds of residents. Over the years there was no fishing to be done so people began to leave for “the town” which is St. Johns, the capital of Newfoundland. In attempt to lure a major oil company to set up a chemical recycling plant in the city, Mayor Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) must employ a town doctor in order to get the lease for the plant. When one of the former residents finds Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch), who is willing to come spend a month in the small town, Murray must pull out all the stops to make sure the great doctor stays so the town can get a new plant.
Paul loves to play cricket, he gets busted for cocaine procession at the airport coming back from a cricket tournament where he was MVP. To avoid going to jail, Paul agrees to come live in the town for one month and perform check ups for the 125 people who live there. Murray has been extremely busy for the days leading up to the doctors visit by talking with the CEO of the oil company to inform them of their progress in meeting all the company’s requirements. He also spends every waking minute preparing the town for Paul’s arrival. One of the craziest things he arranges is to get everyone in the town to learn how to play cricket. Murray believes if they show Paul that they love cricket he will bond with them and be more open to staying. The majority of the town have a hard time learning the game but give it a shot anyways, Paul can’t believe that the town has a cricket league and can’t wait to play.
After settling in Paul opens up his doctor’s office and everyone lines up to get checked out. There are people who visit the doctor for the first time in years, Paul is astonished at some of the cases he sees because never in his practice has he come across such things. Murray gets upset with everyone because they are scaring Paul off with their crazy problems. He holds another town meeting to inform the people to be nicer to Paul and to go visit him one at a time. Over the next few days only a couple of people go visit him which gives him more time to walk around the harbour and take in the small town. He spends every night down at the local bar/restaurant where he becomes friends with everyone except Kathleen (Liane Balaban), the only beautiful single girl in town. Paul is happily engaged to Helen (Anna Hopkins) but Kathleen has caught his eye and heart.
Murray begins to take Paul out fishing with the hope that he will develop a love for being out on the water. The pair spend the days talking and sharing stories when Murray realizes Paul’s feelings for Kathleen. Murray taps his phone and begins to piece together ideas on how to make Paul happy when he becomes home sick while trying to play match maker between him and Kathleen. As time begins to run out, Paul has not commented or offered to stay permanently, so Murray calls the oil company executives to come tour the town and meet Paul to see that the town has met all the requirements to land the contract.
The night the executives fly in all the lies Murray has told up to this point begin to unravel. Paul begins to question everyone and the stories they have been telling, while the oil company executives don’t like what they see. Murray manages to survive the night but is forced to round everyone up for another town meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page in order to save his dream of landing the recycling plant. His last-ditch effort may be too late as Paul has decided to stay but after feeling betrayed decides it would be best for him to leave. Upset and sad to be leaving a place he has adopted as his new home, Paul gets ready to leave when Murray comes clean about everything in an attempt to get him to stay.
my thoughts: I was very interested in seeing the Grand Seduction because it is set in a small Canadian fishing town in Newfoundland. It wasn’t a major Hollywood production, which was a relief for once, but instead it is a low-budget movie with no big names actors that is rich with Canadian content. The story with all its craziness is more for an older audience then say a group of teenagers or early 20-year-olds, there is a lot of adult humour in the picture, just not the raunchy vulgar type. The story features real life people dealing with real life issues, this isn’t some fantasy world where solutions happen out of thin air, this is about real people working really hard to achieve their dreams and be happy.
Tickle Creek has a population of 125 people, some who has lived there their whole lives and some who moved there to enjoy the quiet life of a small town. They are unique individuals who find joy and happiness in the small things in life, whether it be fishing out in the harbour or earning a pay cheque. Paul realizes that life is more than busy cities and five-star restaurants, it is about helping and caring for people who make his transition to the small town very easy.
One of the best parts of Tickle Creek is the people who live there, Henry Tilley (Mark Critch), Simon (Gordon Pinsent), and Joe (Steve O’Connell). These actors are all famous on Canadian television from various other roles in sitcoms and dramas. They help bring the lies to life in an authentic setting that most of them probably appreciated working in. The majority of the other actors/actresses were selected for their roles based on their roots in eastern Canada. They all bring their unique accents and traditions to the big screen that will have you laughing out loud.
The Grand Seduction will not win over the majority of movie goers during its theatre run, but for those who go see it and can appreciate the hard work they put into this story will leave with a huge smile on their face.
my star rating: 6 out 10
imdb.com: 7.4 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 67% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 3 out 4