Director: Don McKellar Writer: Michael Dowse, Ken Scott Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent, Anna Hopkins Runtime: 113 min Rating: PG-13
After having passed by the hands of various directors, The Grand Seduction was finally given to Don McKellar, a consummated Canadian filmmaker and actor. Throughout his career, McKellar has shown great versatility, and this film consolidates him as a solid director capable of making all the right choices in order to bring forth a wholesome cinematic experience that is sure to become a crowd pleaser.
Murray French is a middle aged fisherman in the small harbor of Tickle Cove, and one of the few people concerned with its future. With most of its inhabitants living on welfare, Murray sees an opportunity to bring the harbor back to its feet when the possibility of a factory opening in Tickle Cove comes forth. In order to make it happen, it is necessary for a doctor to practice in the harbor, so after Dr. Lewis, a plastic surgeon from the city gets a job in Tickle Cove for a month, Murray takes it upon himself to make sure Dr. Lewis never wants to leave. As the harbor works together to make sure Tickle Cove becomes Dr. Lewis’s paradise they will also find out that even white lies have the ability to cause great mayhem and sadness.
The Grand Seduction is a production shot in Newfoundland, and the film really puts the beautiful scenery to good use. Although Tickle Cove is supposed to be a rundown town it ultimately translates onto the screen as a wonderfully picturesque and charming harbor that anybody would be lucky to reside in. The film’s generally cold and blue tones also help provide a very soothing visual experience that allows the spectator to quickly feel comfortable inside the chosen setting. The residents of Tickle Cove are also part of the achievement, and the cast and extras do a great job of providing realistic and fun personalities to the residents.
In an age where most comedies are charged with slapstick and sexual humour, it is very refreshing for a film to take on a more simple and ingenious form of comedy. You will not be holding your stomach cackling while watching The Grand Seduction but it is overall very amusing and entertaining. Despite some of its jokes lacking comedic timing, the characters themselves are imaginative and well written enough that they are capable of making the audience smile. All in all, the film triumphs as a feel-good movie with occasionally blatant jokes, but the situation the film depicts in itself is enough to cause confusion and whimsy both in the characters and the spectators.
The Grand Seduction reminds me of a simpler time in comedy, where the humour was there not only to entertain but to actually be a part of the story telling, and hopefully provide some insight into the kindness of people. Although some of its elements might seem cliché, or silly in a culture used to heightened sensorial experiences, there is beauty and comfort to be found in this film, which makes it valuable not only as entertainment but as art. Managing to hold its own in every aspect, The Grand Seduction is a film the whole family can enjoy that will not provide brainless humour, but is sure to crack a smile inside everybody lucky enough to watch.