Janet W., Here…
The Grand Seduction with Taylor Kitsch sounds yummy, but this film is not that type of party. In the quaint town of Tickle Head, Newfoundland, the word of the day is “welfare”. The small harbor is struggling to stay afloat while generation after generation of fisherman had lived and worked in the small town. Sadly, since the fishing has dried up, the whole town is apparently on welfare. Their spirit is parched for any sense of self-worth. Mostly the older generation refused to leave, so when a petrochemical company is looking for a location for their new waste processing plant, the town bands together to get the contract.
Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) is the narrator/ring leader of this homey tale. Sparked by the sudden flight of his wife to the big city, Murray will stop at nothing to get the factory so his wife will come home. However, there is one catch, the company will not commit to a location that doesn’t have a doctor in residence. The mayor even abandons Tickle Head for a job with the TSA when it seems hopeless that doctor will come. Fortunate for the town, the former mayor spies a bag of cocaine in the luggage of Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch). Paul pleads for a deal and offers free plastic surgery, etc. so that he is not reported. In the interest of Tickle Head, the former mayor convinces Paul to be the harbor’s doctor for one month.
When Murray hears of this, he calls a town meeting. Murray convinces the whole town that they must seduce Paul into staying on permanently as the town physician. Through conversations at the airport and over the phone of Paul’s temporary home in Tickle Head, Murray finds out the loves and tricks that will persuade Paul to stay. The two older ladies that record his phone conversations will have you giggling up a storm, in particular when Paul discusses “oiling the machine” with his fiancée Helen. The team of spies learns that Paul loves cricket, which they do not know nor understand, that he did not have a father in the picture, and that his initial purpose for becoming a doctor, was to save lives. Murray’s best friend Simon (Gordon Pinsent) further adds more comicality.
Thank goodness for the appearance of Kitsch as he is surely a magnetic for the eye. I have enjoyed seeing Kitsch on the big screen ever since his role as Pogue Parry in The Covenant. (And why did they not ever make a sequel to that?) He hasn’t had the best of luck in films (John Carter and Snakes on a Plane), but he had good presence and box office draw for X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Battleship. I look forward to seeing his range expand and The Grand Seduction is a good start. Brendan Gleeson is great in this film, too. I was so used to Gleeson playing the bad guy (Safe House), childhood bully (Braveheart), and even a darling father trying to save his little girl from a country full of rage-crazed zombies (28 Days Later).
It was refreshing to see Gleeson in such a sarcastic comical role. The potential for a great comedy was there in The Grand Seduction, but the script could have used a little more work to break up the monotony. Some scenes just dragged and dragged. The moaning of a couple having sex marks the beginning and ending of the film, which was an interesting decision, the first couple being Murray’s parents and the last being Murray and his wife. The Grand Seduction would still be a good movie to watch. They could have done more with the potential love interest for Dr. Paul, too. Ultimately, The Grand Seduction is about having pride in yourself and what you do in this world.
3 out of 5 Stars
– Janet White