The Grand Seduction
What parents need to know
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.
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.
Families can talk 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?