The Grand Seduction

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Grand Seduction Movie Poster Image
Bland Full Monty-esque dramedy has some risque stuff.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 113 minutes

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Kids say

age 16+
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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Characters are shown working together, and the power of the truth is a key theme of the movie. A superficial character learns the value of community and the value of helping others and learns to give up his previous goals of being rich and living a life of pleasure and ease. Characters learn the value of hard work, rather than collecting welfare checks.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the movie has some clear messages, as role models, the characters aren't that strong. Many drink a great deal and lie frequently. A doctor is shallow and superficial and easily fooled -- until the final minutes.

Violence

Characters frequently argue. Some nasty scars are briefly shown on medical patients.

Sex

At night, couples all over town are heard having sex; viewers only see the outsides of houses with lights burning in bedroom windows but hear groaning and moaning and then satisfied sighs. While surfing the Web, a man asks to see photos of "naughty nurses." The computer screen isn't shown, but the men are shown smiling as they look at it. A woman with a bunch of kids tells the doctor that she needs to "go on the pill." A couple has phone sex, but nothing graphic is heard beyond some noises.

Language

Language includes words such as "goddamn" and "moron," British slang like "bloody" and "arse," and a use or two of "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the main characters is caught with cocaine, though it's suggested that he was using it to "celebrate" and doesn't partake regularly. He isn't seen actually using cocaine at any point. Characters spend great portions of the movie drinking in the local tavern, and many characters are shown to be staggering drunk in at least one scene, including the main characters. Problem drinking and/or alcoholism is never mentioned or suggested. A woman smokes a cigarette.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Grand Seduction is a dramedy about small-town folks who tell huge lies for a specific reason but eventually learn the value of the truth. It's a remake of a 2003 French-Canadian film, though it's more reminiscent of The Full Monty. The word "seduction" in the title doesn't refer to sex, though the movie has a fair bit of suggestive material -- particularly the sounds of couples having sex off screen. There are also brief references to Internet porn and "the pill." Characters drink alcohol frequently, and main characters get staggering drunk. A character is caught with cocaine and is jokingly referred to as a problem cocaine user, though he doesn't use the drug onscreen. Characters argue frequently, though language is fairly mild, including uses of "goddamn," British slang like "arse," and one or two uses of "Jesus" (as an exclamation). Aside from the casting of Taylor Kitsch, this movie seems aimed at older viewers; teens likely won't be very interested.

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What's the story?

In the tiny harbor of Tickle Cove, a once-thriving fishing industry has dried up, and now the locals, including Murray (Brendan Gleeson), glumly collect welfare checks. There's a chance that a factory could set up shop and save the town, but several requirements must be fulfilled, including securing a doctor's services. When plastic surgeon/cricket enthusiast Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) is caught with cocaine at the airport, his punishment is community service in Tickle Cove. And so Murray and his neighbors have one month to convince Paul to stay permanently; their plan involves elaborate ruses like setting up a fake cricket team and arranging for Paul to catch his first fish. But Murray slowly realizes that lies aren't enough.

Is it any good?

A remake of the 2003 French-Canadian movie Seducing Doctor Lewis, THE GRAND SEDUCTION fits squarely into the template of The Full Monty and its many knock-offs. In other words, it's a cutesy, quirky dramedy about a working-class community that works together to find a solution in the face of hardship. Certainly this formula works sometimes, but, as directed by Don McKellar, The Grand Seduction seems more bent on following the recipe than developing any actual characters or connections.

The big city doctor makes a huge and unlikely transformation over the course of the movie; when he decides to stay, his decision rings false. Likewise, his relationship with Murray is forced, and both characters are forced into a father/son-type connection. The only cliché the movie avoids is a potential romance between the doctor and pretty Liane Balaban, a choice that feels equally false. All in all, it's a bland movie with no idea how to communicate its agenda.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role that sex plays in The Grand Seduction. How much is shown, and how much is heard? How does it fit into the story? How do you think it might be portrayed differently in an American film?

  • How would you describe the movie's message? What's it's take on lying as a means to an end? Do you agree?

  • Why do you think the characters in this movie spend so much time drinking? Is it a social activity, or is it something else? What are the consequences?

Movie details

For kids who love offbeat movies

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