Synopsis: A small fishing village must secure a lucrative business contract to escape a financial slump. Their odds are slim as a town doctor is needed to land the contract and they’ve been searching for years. After the mayor skips town, resident Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) takes it upon himself to find his village a doctor. When unlikely candidate and big city doctor Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) lands in their lap, the townsfolk rally together to seduce him into staying beyond his one month trial. The ever creative Murray deploys varying ranges of subterfuge. He taps Paul’s phone, fabricates a love interest, and forces the entire village to learn how to play cricket, Paul’s favorite sport. As the month grows, so too does Paul’s fondness for the village, clueless that everything he loves is an elaborate scheme. With the decision for the contract looming, Murray’s grand seduction faces collapse from both guilt and revelation, potentially crushing both the dreams of the small village and the hope of a young doctor.
Release Date: June 13, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG-13
What would you do if everything you knew was a lie? That sounds like the tagline to an action-adventure movie, or an epic science fiction film. Well, it also works for comedy, and is the basis for The Grand Seduction.
The Grand Seduction takes place in the secluded and downtrodden fishing harbor of Tickle Head, located on the Canadian island of Newfoundland. The people of Tickle Head continue to cling to their peaceful lifestyle even though a vast majority of them are on welfare, since the fishing industry in the village dried up years ago. Salvation may come in the form of a new factory that will provide jobs to the residents, but before the company will agree to build the factory, Tickle Head must provide proof that they have a full-time doctor in the town. Unfortunately, they don’t have one. When Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch from Lone Survivor) gets into a little legal trouble involving a bit of cocaine at the airport, he finds himself assigned to Tickle Head for a month. The de-facto leader of the town, an old-timer named Murray French (Edge of Tomorrow‘s Brendan Gleeson), comes up with an elaborate plan to convince the doctor to stay, but it involves an intricate plot that turns Tickle Head into something that it is not – Dr. Lewis’ dream town. With the help of the entire village, Murray’s plan seems to take hold – but the doctor’s whole decision is being influenced by a massive lie.
The script for The Grand Seduction is based on the 2003 French film Seducing Dr. Lewis (La grande seduction), written by Ken Scott (Delivery Man). Michael Dowse (It’s All Gone Pete Tong) massages the original screenplay, changing a location here and a small plot point there, but basically keeps the narrative complete and intact. It’s a very different kind of a fish-out-of-water movie, with the urbane Dr. Lewis fitting in well with the town, only to find that the entire town is not what he thought. Director Don McKellar (Last Night) is able to play up the human aspects of the film and its characters, making the audience fall just as much in love with Tickle Head as Dr. Lewis does. The audience’s love isn’t built on deception, however, and the people of Tickle Head do not come off as antagonistic for lying. Sympathy is generated for Dr. Lewis, but not at the expense of the humanity of the villagers. The townspeople know that they are involved in a slippery slope of lies, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And it all makes for some good comedy.
Everything about The Grand Seduction is great. The script is well paced and compelling, the acting is very capable, and the backdrop of the Canadian locations is nothing short of stunning. It’s not a deep thinker, and there are frustrating moments where the viewer just wishes that the town would come clean, but that’s what makes the film tick – there’s so much heart that the audience can’t help but become invested. In short, The Grand Seduction is just a very entertaining movie, and surprisingly genuine for having a plot built completely upon a bunch of lies.
The Grand Seduction is a rare kind of comedy; it’s full of warm, honest laughs. No one is going to bust a gut over the course of the film, but it’s got the type of comedy that is missing from most of today’s movies – genuine, intelligent humor as opposed to crude jokes based on bodily functions. Most of the humor is situational, and almost all of it relies on the cleverness of the script and the delivery of the actors. Whether it’s an impromptu game of cricket being played by men who have no idea what they’re doing, a scuba diver hooking a fish onto Dr. Lewis’ line in order to make him think that he has a bite, or a pair of female telephone operators eavesdropping on all of the doctor’s calls (including phone sex with his fiance) to learn how to make him want to stay, the funny bits are in top form. It’s unusual to find a film with heart that also is able to generate real laughs, but that’s exactly what The Grand Seduction does; it gets the viewer to laugh along with the characters instead of at them, and it does it without grossing anyone out.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Don McKellar
- Screenwriter(s): Michael DowseKen Scott
- Cast: Brendan Gleeson (Murray French)Taylor Kitsch (Dr. Lewis) Liane Balaban (Kathleen)Gordon Pinsent (Simon)Anna Hopkins (voice of Helen)
- Editor(s): Dominique Fortin
- Cinematographer: Douglas Koch
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA