Popcorn Picks: The Grand Seduction
Image courtesy www.tiff.net
Could this film be any more Canadian? It’s set against the beautiful Maritime backdrop, features the great Gordon Pinsent and tells the story of a community banding together around a common cause.
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Gordon Pinsent, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban
Directed by: Don McKellar
Choice Quote: “I can’t begin to explain the joy we feel at the end of the day just to feel a little tired.”
The Hype: Tickle Head, an east coast Canadian fishing harbor, is in financial peril — as in, “the mayor packed up and skipped town during the night” financial peril. With no jobs or prospects, the town’s only hope is to convince an oil company to set up shop in their cash-strapped fishing community.
The only catch? The oil factory requires that the town have a full-time doctor. Tickle Head’s best bet is an American surgeon caught at the border with cocaine, so the townsfolk set out transforming their little town to accommodate all of the doctor’s likes and pleasures in the hopes of convincing him to give up the big city life and settle for good in coastal Canada.
The Reality: A remake of the Quebecois film Seducing Doctor Lewis, The Grand Seduction is a meld of The Truman Show with an Alistair MacLeod story, and then spiced up with an infusion of distinctly Canuck humour.
And really – could this film be any more Canadian? It’s set against the beautiful Maritime backdrop (complete with local accents), features the great Gordon Pinsent, and tells the story of a community banding together around a common cause.
On top of that, it’s hilarious. Watching the harbor folks create a fake lifestyle in order to sway Dr. Paul Lewis (Kitsch) to move there is worth the price of admission: from pretending they not only understand, but love, the sport of cricket, to creating an urban myth about their “substitute doctor” who doubled as a butcher, to concocting a festival to celebrate his favourite curry dish, to tapping his phone lines to get all the details on his personal life, the screenwriting is clever and this down home, delightful cast pulls it off without a hitch.
You’d really believe these residents, and this town, exist somewhere out on Canada’s east coast, and Kitsch manages to fit in perfectly without coming off as a big city outsider.
Maybe when he heads back to Hollywood, Kitsch can remind our friends to the south just how funny his fellow Canadians really are.
The Verdict: It’s humble, homegrown, and hilarious: without a doubt one of the most enjoyable films you’ll see this year. Consider me seduced.
See it in theatres or rent it?: Theatres
Can the grandkids watch?: You bet.
Rating: 4.0 kernels out of 5