In “The Grand Seduction,” the only hope for the tiny outport of Tickle Head is a new Petrochemical plant, but in order to qualify for the bid they need to prove they have a resident doctor. When fate sends Dr. Paul Lewis (Kitsch) their way, unemployed fisherman Murray French (Gleeson) mobilizes the town to do everything they can to convince the fast living, jazz loving, cricket playing doctor that their sleepy harbour is a paradise tailor-made just for him. (synopsis via Coming Soon)
For all my widely and oft-repeated love of gritty indie fare and big blockbuster sci-fi, there is a significant place in my heart for movies that some might dismiss as twee or cute.
And frankly I care not.
For movies like The Grand Seduction, which looks like an entrancing and hilarious mix of The Full Monty‘s authentically working class humour and worldview, Men in Tall Trees/Eureka/Northern Exposure‘s quirky village life and even a smidge of This is Jinsy‘s delightfully surreal weirdness, are a balm for the soul, and a far more rewarding viewing experience than the cool kids will ever accede to.
There is for instance, a richness of humanity that percolates through movies like this.
Sure the inhabitants are awash in more idiosyncrasies and neuroses that you could poke a therapist’s pad at, and the innocent abroad, who for one reason or another has fallen into their benign clutches, there to be played with for ripe comic effect like a punchlined lamb to the slaughter, is soon in for a rude awakening.
But you know that all will end well, that the object of the villager’s stalking/charm offensive will be won over, that they will realise their life is infinitely better where they are than where they were, and that everyone will end up happily ever after.
And you know what? I am totally fine with that.
Another thing that I love about films like The Grand Seduction, if they’re done well and it looks like it is, thanks to Michael Drowse and Ken Scott, is that the writers have to craft their characters superbly well from the get go if we’re to truly identity with them and enjoy the hilarious antics that ensue at their hands.
Poorly drawn characters usually equals belaboured and even more contrived scenarios than are already the case and then all the charm in the world can’t save the film from sinking beneath the forced humour that results.
Maybe these kinds of films are a cinematic comfort food of sorts are some sneeringly allege but that doesn’t they’re not expertly written, beautifully directed stories that restore a little bit of faith in the often tattered reputation of humanity.
And besides, cinema should be just as much about escape as it is about heartfelt biopics or unfailing realistic dramas, both of which I also love, and it looks The Grand Seduction, is going to be a very fine escape indeed.
The Grand Seduction has just opened in USA with UK to follow on 29 August 2014. (No dates for Australia just yet.)