The Grand Seduction (2014)
Starring Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Gordon Pinsent, Liane Balaban, Mark Critch, Peter Keleghan, Mary Walsh, Margaret Killingbeck, Cathy Jones, and Matt Watts
Directed by Don McKellar
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
The small Canadian fishing village of Tickle Neck has been floundering for years after the fishing industry began to fail the townsfolk. With many forced to live on welfare checks, they have placed their hope on securing a lucrative business contract that would bring an oil industry refinement plant to their small town. However, one of the company's stipulations is that a doctor must live in the town and Tickle Neck is without a physician. By chance, Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) happens to stop in for a bit of an extended stay and the residents along with interim mayor Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) find themselves doing whatever they can to make their small little port seductive and enticing to the young MD.
Although I've already used the word once in this review, the best way to sum up The Grand Seduction is simply to say that it's charming. It's a movie that could've been made decades ago with its rather innocent tone (although certainly not without a risqué humorous moment or two). It's a movie that you can watch with you grandmother or your tween kid without risk of embarrassment. And it's a movie that has a heckuva whole lot more humor than you'd expect. These feel good flicks can sometimes feel a bit heavy-handed or too saccharine for their own good, but screenwriters Ken Scott and Michael Dowse create a nice balance of sarcasm, heart, and charm (there's that word again) without going overboard on any one aspect.
Director Don McKellar has assembled one of the best ensembles brought to the screen in 2014. Although Brendan Gleeson and Taylor Kitsch are certainly well known (and do fantastic work here with Gleeson in particular bringing a surprising amount of genteel humor to the screen), the actors portraying the townspeople of Tickle Neck manage to create memorable, enjoyably amiable, and engrossing characters. There's a genuineness to the entire ensemble that's difficult to achieve, but magic when it's a success...and it's definitely a success here. Kudos in particular to Gordon Pinsent as Murray's elderly best friend and Mark Critch as the town's beleaguered banker, both of whom are fresh faces to me, but held my interest every minute they were onscreen and provided many a laugh.
Do yourself a favor. Add The Grand Seduction to your Netflix instant queue and settle yourself in for a wonderfully sweet flick that will win you over with its gentle tone and lovely charm.
The RyMickey Rating: B+