A remake of the French film La Grande Séduction, The Grand Seduction is a heartwarming tale of the working class that would make a fine double feature with Ken Loach’s Jimmy Hall or the more recent Pride.
Feeling like an extended missing episode of Father Ted, the action takes place in the small Irish harbour of Tickle Head. Prohibited from fishing, the once booming community is now living off welfare, creating a sense of shame amongst the proud and traditional men of the harbour.
Brendan ‘Mad Eye Moody’ Gleeson plays Murray, who is left particularly disgruntled as his wife leaves home for ‘town’ in an attempt to get work. A firm believer that the men should be the bread winners, he leads the charge in finding a solution to the problem, a solution that takes the form of a big corporation wanting to build a factory on their little island.
However, one of the many conditions of sealing the deal is that they have a resident doctor on Tickle Head, and herein lies the main plot thread in The Grand Seduction. By some cosmic coincidence, an American plastic surgeon is forced to take up residency for a month after being caught trying to smuggle drugs onto a plane.
Knowing they have to do everything in their power to impress him, the community comes together in creating what they think would be his perfect place to live, chiefly by learning how to play cricket, the doctor’s favourite sport.
Refreshing in the sense that it’s a comedy which is actually funny, The Grand Seduction is first and foremost an absolute joy to watch. As the harbour-folk go to increasingly outrageous lengths to impress the doctor, the film becomes more and more hilarious with plenty of well thought out, brilliantly conceived gags.
The film’s biggest success is making the characters, all of whom are essentially liars in this instance, very likeable. The moral implications of the lengths they go to to ensure the factory is built on their island are addressed by the film’s end, but in a very real way.
It’s feel good folky fun that manages to the get the right balance of sentimentality and reality, offering real observations about life on the bread line and corporate corruption.
An easy, enjoyable time at the pictures, The Grand Seduction has something to offer to everybody. It’s laugh out loud funny, completely charming, and sure leave you content and smiling as you leave the cinema.