BRENDEN GLEESON TAYLOR KITSCH GORDON PINSENT LIANE BALABAN
THE GRAND SEDUCTION
Cute isn’t usually a positive term to describe feature films, but The Grand Seduction falls in line with films like Secondhand Lions or any Robert DuVall film (A Night in Old Mexico Comes to Mind). For once it’s nice to see Breenden Gleeson (Harry Potter, In Bruges) get a leading role. It’s a wispy little story set in a beautiful location with a bunch of backward harbor town folk who do ridiculous things to save their little community. Suspension of belief is required for this little tale of determination, which wouldn’t be so terrible if the direction had a little more pizazz to it. 83-year-old Gordon Pinsent (Away From Her, The Shipping News) has made a career on these types of films; apparently he is the go to actor for anything shot in and around Newfoundland.
In the tiny harbor of Tickle Cove there lies about 120 residents who line up at the one woman post office every month to get their welfare check, then line up at the one teller bank to cash them. There are no jobs on land and no fish in the sea, and even the mayor of Tickle Cove is leaving for the mainland. That leaves determined Murray French (Gleeson) in charge of rallying the community behind a hair brained idea to trick a doctor into staying in their town so a recycling plant will set up headquarters and provide jobs and a way of life for the residents. They paint the houses, clean up the beaches and even pretend to learn to play cricket for young Dr. Lewis (Kitsch), who may be their last hope.
The most obviously fallible element to the town and their master plan is the amount of dedication and hard work all 120 residents are putting into tricking the doctor and the oil men when, if they put that much effort into anything else, they wouldn’t need either of them. The story is supposed to focus on extreme ideas born out of patriotism and honor, and it’s a sweet thing that the townspeople do, especially the old ladies who are eavesdropping on the doctor's calls, even taking notes on his phone sex chats. This bit works for a third of the story, as they trick Dr. Lewis with everything including fishing, but the gag gets old and the truth is held too long.
Taylor Kitsch has sort of become the bad luck charm for films. After John Carter, Battleship, Savages and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, you hire him certainly knowing he doesn’t have a great track record. The Grand Seduction will barely make an appearance in theaters and quickly go to television movie networks like Starz for reruns, so it won’t be counted as a big bomb for Kitsch. However, his character doesn’t lend much to the story, and especially for a doctor he seems pretty clueless to be schemed in this way. This is the type of film that, if you are flying up to Canada and this is a choice on the plane, it might be more enjoyable than watching it anywhere else.
Final Thought – Too sweet and formulaic, more like a family film than anything else.
By: Dustin Chase