Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Movie Poster Image
Quirky romance mixes politics, charm; fine for teens.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen's messages are about the importance of peace, patience, tolerance, humility, and faith.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alfred and Harriet are as different, in both personality and disposition, as two people can be. But in working toward a common goal, they discover much to appreciate in each other. They're both clear about not wanting to be hurtful of others and are quite respectful of their complicated individual situations.


An assassin attempts to kill one of the characters with a gun; later, a dam is destroyed.


A woman takes off her pants and joins her boyfriend in bed (they're mostly shown cuddling). Earlier, they're seen kissing. Another couple is shown just finishing having sex (no nudity).


"F--k" is shown typed on a computer, with asterisks in place of most of the letters; later, a mother says the word while speaking to her teenage son. Also occasional use of words including "bloody hell," "bastard," "ass," "damn," "oh my God, " "goddamn," and "bollocks."


Mention of Target and the names of a few fishing magazines.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking. One character smokes cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a quirky romance with a mish-mash of themes that includes love, international relations, faith, war, marital infidelity, and fishing. Overall the movie has a genteel feel, and though there's some salty language (including "ass," "bastard, and one use of "f--k"), it's not excessive. Expect some kissing and a couple of love scenes that imply sex, though there's no graphic nudity. There's also some social drinking and smoking, and use of a gun by an attempted assassin.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBgmacdonald305 October 31, 2018

Very good story but language stronger than reviews above

3 uses of the F word and other strong language throughout.
Adult Written byrhizobium July 24, 2013

watch it!

great show. i don't get how is it not more popular.
Not sure what it is, but i loved every bit of the show, probably because it wasn't you typical ch... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bykrazyflowz August 25, 2013

Loved Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

A wonderful tale that we rated 12 and up only because younger might not understand the political parts. There is a scene of implied sex (couple in bed, sheets u... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 19, 2013

12A / PG-13

Contains some violence and sexual content, and brief language.

What's the story?

A wealthy sheikh (Amr Waked) has a dream: to bring salmon fishing -- a soulful, deliberate sport he learned to appreciate in the peace and quiet of Scotland -- to his native Yemen. To realize his vision, he asks a consultant, Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), to recruit Britain's top fishing expert, Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor), on his behalf. Unfortunately, Dr. Jones thinks it's a folly, and then some. But then the prime minister's press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) decides that the project could bring the government some much-needed feel-good press, especially given the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, and the good doctor soon finds himself without a choice but to see the sheik's dream to fruition.

Is it any good?

Adapted from the novel by Paul Torday, this captivating film succeeds for some of the same reasons it infuriates. It approaches its storyline with such wide-eyed innocence, creating wonderful moments of pure heart, that it seems -- depending on which side you're on -- either charming or naive. The central romance between Fred and Harriet unfolds sweetly and believably, even if they seem like such disparate characters. The challenges to their pairing are daunting -- an unsatisfying marriage, a missing boyfriend -- but we root for them. Despite its seeming absurdity, like bringing salmon fishing to the Yemeni desert, their romantic enterprise seems rather noble and disarming.

And then there's the movie's political plot; with Kristin Scott Thomas at the helm, it's biting and hilarious. But tonally, it's a mismatch. Add the sheik's mysticism, his talk of faith and a world that could benefit greatly from the wisdom of the fishermen, and what you get is a bit of a jumble. (The movie doesn't much explore the sheik's motivations; the idea that he wants to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen is taken at face value as a positive, never mind the problems locals have with it.) But the film is both warmhearted and lovely to look at, and perhaps that's enough.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Salmon Fishing in the Yemen's messages. What do you think it wants audiences to take away from watching? Does all entertainment need to have a message?

  • What makes Harriet's and Fred's romance different or similar to that of other movie couples? Did either of them do anything wrong? Why did they hesitate?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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