A serious tickle of your sensibilities . . .
IN THE Grand Seduction a harbour community entitled Tickle Cove tries to lure a big time city doctor to settle in their tiny village.
They need his presence to persuade a potential investor to build a factory in their economically depressed area, but how do you persuade someone to move to the middle of nowhere in Newfoundland?
South African audiences will find some measure of resonance with the idea of this fishing community which is now not allowed to do what they were born to do – dwindling quotas have affected several local small communities in a similar way.
A difference though, is that this particular Canadian community can survive on welfare. They’re not happy doing it, and it is difficult, but they aren’t left totally destitute.
The people are spiritually and mentally bereft though, left as they are without a common purpose, and they shuffle through the day, from harbour to bar. This is in total contrast to the beginning of the film which paints a picture of a proud community of hard-working traditionalists.
Brendan Gleeson plays Murray French, who becomes the de facto mayor when he decides to chivvy along the process. His wife Barbara (Cathy Jones) is working on the mainland and he realises that the only way she can come back is if there is work for her.
French becomes a sort of substitute father figure to Dr Lewis (Kitsch) who is charmed by the village – what the good doctor doesn’t realise though, is it is all a concerted effort and what he takes to be “good, honest people” is all a sham.
Even though it is all a sham, there is a broad streak of realism running through the characterisation, which grounds the film in reality. Plus, the pristine scenery is absolutely captivating.
Gleeson’s ex-fisherman turned occasional poacher is charming, while his friend and side-kick, Simon (Pinset), gets the good lines.
Kitsch plays a nice guy, a cricketloving plastic surgeon who just wants to find his place in the world.
The dramedy about men out of work is sweet and pleasant, even appealing in a cheery Mary Poppins sort of way. But, on the downside, everything about it is just as calculated as the villagers attempt to snooker the doctor. As long as you turn your cynicism way down, it works. But, if you purse your lips and narrow your eyes even a little bit, it turns sappy and soppy.
Predictable as it is, this is still way more soothing to watch than watching a straight-to-video thriller filled with gratuitous violence.
If you liked Seducing Doctor Lewis, yes this is a remake.
HAVING A PURPOSE: Murray (Gleeson) and best friend Simon (Pinsent) put their heads together to come up with a plan to save Tickle Cove.