Although the title makes it sound like it might have something to do with a French or Italian romantic/sexual escapade, The Grand Seduction is actually a Canadian farcical comedy that has won a place in my Saturday Selections.
About the Film
Imagine taking Waking Ned Devine and sticking it in a remote Newfoundland harbor and you’ve got the making of The Grand Seduction. Unfortunately, the situation in The Grand Seduction isn’t as light-hearted as a bunch of Irish villagers trying to outwit the lottery man. Tickle Head Harbor was once a vibrant fishing community where everyone worked hard and lived well. Laws changed and the livelihood of fishing was taken away and now everyone is on the dole and miserable because they just want to work.
A factory wants to set up shop in Tickle Head, but another village may win the contract unless the Tickle Headians can find a resident doctor. What better way to get a doctor than to trick him into thinking Tickle Head is everything he every dreamed of? When Dr. Paul Lewis needs to do community service to avoid a jail sentence, the Tickle Headians work their magic including pretending they hate hockey and LOVE cricket, just like Dr. Lewis.
Mixed in with duping Dr. Lewis, the residents of Tickle Head also have to trick the factory bigwigs into believing there are twice as many people living in the harbor to meet the minimum number of workers the factory requires. And there’s also a small matter of a bribe that the local bank manager (who they refer to as the ATM) can’t get the head bank to approve.
Although this does have many elements of Waking Ned Devine, it also has plenty of original elements that keep the movie from feeling like a knock off of the Irish classic. The overall story is excellent and you can’t help but feel for the characters who are doing what they have to (and doing it in a very funny way) to bring the harbor back to life.
I also liked that the factory wasn’t some grand enterprise. It’s not like they were pushing to have a chocolate factory or something glamorous that will bring prestige or riches. They are trying to get a petrochemical recycling plant not because they love recycling, but because they simply want to work and feel proud of earning their wages rather than living off government hand outs.
The Grand Seduction is a great movie of a community working together with a perfect dose of humor and I definitely recommend finding a copy to watch.