The small harbor of Tickle Cove is in dire need of a doctor so that the town can land a contract to secure a factory which will save the town from financial ruin. When they find Dr. Paul Lewis, the whole town use tactics to seduce the doctor into staying permanently.
“The Grand Seduction” has some strong moments of affliction and misfortune but it is far surpassed by some genuinely hilarious scenes and once they begin, you don’t want them to end. The movie works because of its entertaining story and perfect cast and while there are some plot-holes that protrude from time to time, the narrative and performances overshadow everything else to present a truly enjoyable, feel-good movie. The film starts with a voice-over from Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) and we see him reminiscing about life in the tiny harbor village of Tickle Cove. Back then, his father, a fisherman, and all the other fishermen in the village, would go out on the water early in the morning and wouldn’t come home till their boats were filled with fish. Life was good back then but things have changed since.
Fishing is now forbidden and most, if not all of the harbor’s residents, live on their social security checks or unemployment. The town is in the running to land a potentially lucrative contract which would secure a factory that would save the town from financial collapse and the only thing preventing them, is the fact that they don’t have a village doctor and haven’t had one in years. The village mayor ends up having to leave with his family for a job in the city and that’s where Dr. Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) comes into play. As his belongings are being checked by security at the airport, a small stash of cocaine is found and in no time, he is pleading to the security officer to not turn him in. Naturally, the security officer was the village mayor and when he finds out that Lewis is a doctor, a large grin covers his face.
Before we know it, Dr. Lewis is on his way to the small village of Tickle Cove. Murray comes up with a plan that involves the entire village and everyone in it and when they find out that Dr. Lewis loves cricket, they must all learn its rules and regulations and produce a makeshift cricket court on the outskirts of town. They must all act like cricket is their religion and once he arrives, he is made to feel beyond welcome, with everyone smiling and acting like they are happy he is there. The plan is simple: create such a loving and caring atmosphere, that he genuinely won’t want to leave, hence, they have their doctor and the factory will be built and their village saved. As expected, things start off wonderfully but as time goes by, little cracks appear in the facade until one of the villagers has enough of the lying and finally tells Lewis exactly what’s been going on.
With “The Grand Seduction”, you can see the set-up and the inevitable finale coming a mile away. You know that things will be perfect for a while but that gradually, the plan will slowly start drifting south. Just like a James Bond movie, we know that Bond will experience thrilling escapades and adventures, some perilously dangerous but in the end, he will live to walk away and fight another day. “The Grand Seduction” never sets out to hide its plot, it wants you to know exactly where it is going because like any good story, it’s not just about reaching the end, it’s the journey you take that brings you there. The moral of the story is not about being right or wrong, ultimately, it’s about finding forgiveness and second chances, something we could all benefit from.
When we first meet Lewis, he is a young hotshot doctor from the big city with a flashy car, hot girlfriend and parties galore. Once he reaches Tickle Cove however, he begins to see the kind of person he was and the life he was leading and gradually turns away from it. The people of the village accept him for who he is because deep down, he is a good person with a big heart. When we first meet Murray, he is lazy, unresponsive and emotionally detached from his wife and it takes her accepting a job in the city for him to get his act together and finally turn into the man he once was. Fellow Irish actor Brendan Gleeson and Mr. Kitsch have undeniable onscreen chemistry while director Don McKellar peels back some of the layers in the village, giving supporting characters the freedom to each bring a distinctive personality trait which makes them all very engaging to watch. Highly recommended.
In select theaters June 13th including the Angelika Dallas