“The Grand Seduction” (2014)
The tiny harbor town of Tickle Cove is on the coast of Canada. Its main source of income, fishing, died out years ago making almost everyone in town unemployed. In fact, you could say the whole town is depressed. The only event that the whole town will gather for is when the unemployment checks come into the post office. There is some hope on the horizon for Tickle Cove as an oil company is considering building a recycling plant in the town. Just one big problem, the oil company requires that a doctor live in the town. It’s a position that has been open for years and Tickle Cove has done everything to recruit a doctor, with no avail. The mayor of the town, so discouraged by the Tickle Cove’s demise, moves his family out of their house in the middle of the night, taking off for a job in the big city.
Murray (Brendan Gleeson) has always loved Tickle Cove, having been born the son of a fisherman. He is a proud man (though he does steal a dead man’s welfare checks every two weeks) whose wife wants to move to the big city where jobs await. After the mayor leaves, Murray is determined to save his town, by hook or crook.
The former mayor now has a job working a security job at the airport. In walks, Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch), a young doctor fresh off a wild weekend celebrating the end of his residency and a victory in a cricket tournament. When the former mayor inspects Paul’s bags, he discovers a bit of cocaine hidden in a container. The doctor, who is a plastic surgeon, pleads with the mayor, offering to do cosmetic work of the mayor or his wife. When the doctor says that he will do anything, the mayor gets a gleam in his eye.
The next thing we know, the doctor is on his way to Tickle Cove for a 30 day visit. Murray, haven taken over as town’s new mayor, is determined to make Dr. Lewis fall in love with the town and its people. He rally’s the townsfolk, getting them to clean up the area, do a bit of painting and mending of fences. Now it’s up to Murray and his town to woo the doctor into staying. Their first order of business of romancing the doctor, create a cricket pitch and field a team, even though no one in town has even heard of cricket, much less know how to play.
This hilarious movie can be easily described as a mix of “Northern Exposure” and “Doc Hollywood” with a little bit of “Waking Ned Devine” thrown in. To say that the town is full of very odd characters would be an understatement. Tickle Cove, led by Murray, played by the talented and funny Brendan Gleeson, does just about everything it can to make Paul’s time in Tickle Cove a phenomenal experience. Gleeson is pitch-perfect in the role of Murray, a big, burly man who loves his town and his wife (possibly in that order). Gleeson plays off of Gordon Pinsent, who plays Murray’s best friend Simon, with incredible comedic timing, making it a delight to watch the two of them on screen together. Taylor Kitsch, as the fish out of water Dr. Lewis, gives one of his best performances to date, showing us that he can handle comedy quite well. He makes his big city doctor stuck in a tiny town seem believable and gives his character some qualities to where we can see before Dr. Lewis does, that he just might fit in this fishing village. Liane Balaban, who plays the postal worker with an attitude, has excellent chemistry with Kitsch, allowing us to believe that maybe one day they will end up together.
The film was shot in Newfoundland and cinematographer Douglas Koch does a marvelous job of showing us the beauty of the coastline town. Director Don McKellar gets everything he can out of his cast, and they respond with some funny and touching performances. While the script by Michael Dowse and Ken Scott is a little too predictable, it’s still a joy to watch and Brendan Gleeson makes it worth buying a ticket. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again Follow @Lastonetoleave
The film is currently playing in Atlanta at the UA Tara Cinemas 4