Sometimes there is truly nothing wrong with a movie telling a nice, simple and delightful little story. Based on a French Canadian film of the same name , "The Grand Seduction" is a charming little romp about how sometimes and in no matter what walk of life, people just need a win and something positive to get behind.
Tickle Cove, a small fishing village, must procure a local doctor to secure a lucrative business contract. When unlikely candidate and big city doctor Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) lands in their lap for a trial residence, the townsfolk rally together to charm him into staying. As the doctor’s time in the village winds to a close, acting mayor Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) has no choice but to pull out all the stops.
With his first directorial effort in ten years, Don McKellar returns to the scene and keeps the spirit and general joie de vivre from the original film in this his version of "The Grand Seduction" as he shoots it all with a subtle yet never unpleasant town as even the darkest moments in this little town don't seem all that serious.
A truly romantic portrait of a simpler life in a Maritime setting, McKellar crafts this almost in the same way you would imagine your prototypical fish out of water Hollywood romantic comedy. It's not a formula that reinvents the wheel, but it is filled with characters that we can get behind and it gets the job done as the entire proceedings not just for all the actors involved but for the audience as well feels like a very chilled and laid back in a part of the world where things move at a very deliberate and methodical pace. The script from Michael Dowse and Ken Scott is one that doesn't necessarily hammer us with jokes or hackneyed set ups as it lets the comedy play rather subtlety. From beginning to end it all plays like a nice paid vacation for a bunch of actors getting to goof around on a picturesque Maritime island and the narrative itself has a nice balance as it gives the serious moments just enough emotional weight to mean something while the tender and goofy moments hit us right in the sweet spot as the entire ensemble knew exactly how to play the material.
Taylor Kitsch who has suffered through some unfortunate box office bombs in the last couple of years has successfully taken a step back to more character driven stuff. Here he does an exceptional job of capturing that awe shucks, fish out of water leading man charm and he does it well as his doctor who slowly becomes disenchanted with big city life is the kind of guy we can easily get behind. On the flip side of that coin, the irascible Brendan Gleeson plays it with just the right amount of sweetness and dead pan charm as his Murray French will lie, cheat, exaggerate and bend the truth just so his little harbor town has a chance to stay alive. The likes of Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent and Mark Critch all add flavour to a story where no one is really stretched to stand out but it manages the perfect comedic beats and just the right time.
From beginning to end, "The Grand Seduction" isn't the kind of film that is designed to legitimately wow anybody, but you will leave the theatre with a smile on your face and sometimes that is more than enough.
3 out of 5 stars.
"The Grand Seduction" is now playing at theatres all across the country, please check with local listings for show times.