Written by Michael Dowse and Ken Scott Directed by Don McKeller Starring Brendan Glesson, Taylor Kitsch and Gordon Pinsett
Dr. Lewis: It’s the people. You don’t have to ask how they’re doing. You just know. It’s something.
There are essentially two levels of persuasion at play in Toronto-born director, Don McKeller’s THE GRAND SEDUCTION, a remake of the 2003 Quebec film, LA GRANDE SEDUCTION. First, there is the courtship taking place in the film itself, where the few holdouts still living in a crumbling, Newfoundland harbour attempt to convince a young doctor to stay on permanently so that they can win a bid for a chemical recycling plant. Then you have the second seduction, where the film itself attempts to delight the audience so that it looks past how implausible the premise is while falling for it the same time. Fortunately, McKeller and the merry men and women of Tickle Head harbour, are all quite the charmers.
This is a trickier sell than you might think. There is a danger in telling the story of simple folk, by which I mean you run the risk of over simplifying their lives to the point where they are no longer people but rather just jokes put on display for our amusement. The people of Tickle Head are very real though, even though Tickle Head itself is not. (It is actually loosely based on Tickle Cove, Nfld.) Led by Brendan Gleeson and Canadian Screen Award winner for Best Supporting Actor, Gordon Pinsett, the men and women of this harbour basically live welfare cheque to welfare cheque. With no hope for new work in sight, many are leaving for the mainland to find work, breaking families apart and threatening the harbour’s very existence. This harsh reality inspires great sympathy for their plight and even greater support for their cause. So by the time they get up to all of their ridiculous shenanigans, the audience is much more keen to forgive their misguided ways.
Taylor Kitsch of such box office disasters like JOHN CARTER and BATTLESHIP, plays the good doctor and it is incredibly refreshing to see him in such a relaxed role for a change. As he slowly falls in love with this genuinely endearing harbour, so will you. Unlike the doctor though, you won’t need to be duped into loving it.