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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Movie Review - The Grand Seduction

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***

I'm sometimes asked why I wait so long to put together my RyMickey Awards every year and my response is always that I like to look for little gems that others may have overlooked to champion to my few readers.  The Grand Seduction is one such film -- overflowing with charm, humor, and a cast that exudes charisma, this barely known flick is a sleeper and one of the Best Films of 2014 That I'm Guessing You Haven't Seen.

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+


  1. You had me at Brendan Gleeson and, to an only slightly lesser extent--now that I've gone full Texas and embraced Friday Night Lights--at Taylor Kitsch. I'm thankful you reviewed this because the artwork that Netflix has for this movie as you're scrolling through definitely did not stand out. And it was funny. Although I still don't know how that 120 instead of 150 people plot line would have just worked itself out.

  2. I'm happy you gave this one a go! Truth be told, this one was in my queue for a while and, like you said, the cover art wasn't wowing me. I asked my brother to pick three numbers between 1-36 (which are the remaining 2014 films in my queue) and this one happened to be the first one he picked. I was obviously pleasantly surprised.

    I've been watching Friday Night Lights, too...into season three currently. I really didn't love it at first, wondering what all the buzz was about, but the characters all grew on me and I really do love the relationship between husband and wife.

    Nevertheless, I'm happy I convinced you to watch! And that my recommendation wasn't a disappointment!

  3. The music really stood/stands out to me in Friday Night Lights.