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Movie Review

The Grand Seduction

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Director: Don McKellar

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaba

Duration: 113 minutes

Certificate 12A

1 of 3 It's refreshing and life-affirming to experience a film with such a warm and generous heart
It's refreshing and life-affirming to experience a film with such a warm and generous heart
2 of 3 Brendan Gleeson and former Friday Night Lights star Taylor Kitsch take the main roles in The Grand Seduction
Brendan Gleeson and former Friday Night Lights star Taylor Kitsch take the main roles in The Grand Seduction
3 of 3 Brendan Gleeson is in great form and a towering presence as Murray French
Brendan Gleeson is in great form and a towering presence as Murray French

The Grand Seduction is based on the 2003 film Seducing Doctor Lewis (original French title La Grande Séduction). It took some years - obviously - for an English language version to get up and running, and at one stage there were talks about the late Robin Williams coming on board. But, ultimately, Dubliner Brendan Gleeson and former Friday Night Lights star Taylor Kitsch took the main roles.

Set in Tickle Cove, a rather bleak and craggy outpost in the Newfoundland and Labrador region of Canada, the tone of the film is pitch-perfect from the start as a young boy, Murray French (played as an adult by Gleeson), narrates about his parents' domestic bliss, while praising the work ethic and bonding in Tickle Head.

The film then cuts to the present day, with stoical locals (including Murray) queuing at the town's post office for dole cheques as the fishing ain't what it used to be and Tickle Head is dying, economically. Boyish idealism nutmegged by adult reality.

Brendan Gleeson is in great form and a towering presence as Murray French, a man obsessed with saving the local community. He uses a catalogue of charm tactics in order to convince a doctor (Taylor Kitsch as Paul Lewis) to come and stay in Tickle Head, so that a fishing plant can be located there and provide employment for the largely redundant locals.

Like a classic Ealing comedy, The Grand Seduction gently reels you in, just as Murray French does to Dr Lewis, and paints a quite tender, if less-than-idyllic, picture of life in the harsh environment of Newfoundland. They may be rough and ready, but the people have an enviable sense of community.

In these cynical, selfish times it's refreshing and life-affirming to experience a film with such a warm and generous heart. Go see. Enjoy!

John Byrne

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