The Grand Seduction – Movie Review
The Grand Seduction – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 30 May 2014
Brendan Gleeson plays Murray, a man living on welfare in the tiny harbor town of Tickle Head learns that the town can lure a factory to be built to employ the citizens if they have a doctor living there. Murray learns everything he can about a young doctor, Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) and leads the town in pretending to be a perfect place for him to live. The pretend to love the game of cricket. They serve his favorite food and generally spy on him to learn what other shenanigans to pull to try and seduce him into staying in Tickle Head.
The movie has a lot in common with the similar concept of 1991’s Doc Hollywood. Both doctors are plastic surgeons and end up stuck in small towns that try to win them over. (See also Pixar’s Cars and Northern Exposure.) However this movie seems to focus more on Murray and the town than the doctor himself. The portrayal of the shame of welfare and the uncomfortable lifestyle is brought out in heartbreaking detail. Compared to most modern comedies, it takes quite a while for Dr. Lewis to even arrive in town. The whole movie has a slow, deliberate pace that makes it feel much like life in a small town. Characters get lots of room to breathe and develop rather than just delivering jokes.
Gleeson and Kitsch are great in their respective roles. Gordon Pinsent steals most of the scenes he is in as Murray’s best mate Simon. The slow pace of the movie might put some viewers off, but it does a lot toward making the situation and characters feel real. We want to see this group get their way despite how manipulative they are as none of it is cruel or mean-spirited. Our theater happened to be mostly older viewers who seemed to really enjoy the (mostly older) cast and the comedy in general.
Hannah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car: