Yes, I know I’m a day late. No, it’s not a big deal.
Most people I knew celebrated National Canadian Film Day watching short films, or features mostly. Anything that was Canadian made. So I went to a movie theatre that was offering a free screening of The Grand Seduction so I went there to watch it. I also went so I could use the last of my gift card at that theatre. Upon arrival, it took a while for someone to get the movie started, but eventually it came up. First thing I gotta say is, so many companies went into making this.
Now, as for The Grand Seduction itself, it takes place in a Canadian small-town harbour like place called Tickle Head. Yeah, we got some strange names for towns in this country, but that one sounds like a cartoon place to me. Anyways, life on the harbour is a struggle for all the old guys living there as they live off unemployment cheques, fish and any resources that go into the little village. Population is as low as my high school was, and our protagonist Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) has more than enough on his plate, living in a semi-illegal fashion. But things get worse for Murray when his wife heads out to work in the city and the mayor himself intends to leave the lazy town behind. Murray takes up the job as mayor and gets news that a doctor is coming to the town. Well, the former mayor works as airport security and catches a plastic surgeon sneaking cocaine in his luggage and makes a deal with him so he stay out of jail. What will a doctor do for the little landmark? Well, for starters, everybody has an illness of some sort, and secondly with some legal work, the doctor will give the little harbour a chance to get a petrochemical factory built on the land, thus putting people into employment once more. With one month to prepare, the whole town pulls their weight to meet to the doctor’s expectations and personal interests. This includes creating a makeshift Cricket field (complete with uniforms), putting specially made foods on the menu at the only bar, giving the doctor a house to lodge at, and creating as many elaborate lies as they can to convince him to approve of the land. When Dr. Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) arrives, he seems unsure of the area and continuously calls his girlfriend back at home while some of the elderly women spy on his phone calls. Murray attempts to connect with Dr Lewis to cure his loneliness and even tries to get the only single woman to fall in love with him. But Dr Lewis isn’t the only one being fed lies by Murray. With the help of the town’s bank manager Henry (Mark Critch), he plans to apply for a loan to get the factory established and even tries to convince an executive (Peter Keleghan) that they absolutely need a factory even going far enough to have the whole town sneak from one location to another changing costumes.
I got a good vibe out of this. While a lot of Canadian films take place in small towns, I don’t think I’ve seen too many of them taking place at harbours, especially not ones with hilarious names. The scenery isn’t much taking place there, but it’s still quite scenic and there is some occasional use of well made lighting despite the run down look of it all. The characters are interesting, while the majority of them are old people with little to no knowledge of the world outside of the harbour, we also get some young characters. Not just Dr. Louis but some kids living in the small town. The whole story is a good amount of hilarity and small doses of heartwarming moments in between. There was nothing more Canadian than this production, it’s instantly a classic to me. Funny and beautifully made, it’s a film that shows sometimes we have to go to great lengths to get something we wish for. It also shows with a good amount of resources, whether true or false, can get you somewhere and hopefully be convincing. Of course, I don’t know how convincing. A silly movie, but still worth watching.