By Guest Reviewer, W. Fred Crow
Cinequest opened their 2014 season Tuesday, March 4, with a teaser and a pleaser, and in general, an agreeable comedy for the theatre. Directed by Don McKellar, ‘The Grand Seduction’ didn’t seduce us so much as it gently entertained. Seduction leaves such a bawdy thought in the brain. This film is a far cry from its title. There isn’t the intent to seduce as it strives to connive.
A small coastal town, oops, a harbor community, has been devastated by the decline of the fishing industry. There is one salvation on the horizon – a plastics manufacturer might possibly drop a factory into their midst, providing they have a doctor in residence, that and a $100,000 bribe. The romp begins when the mayor engages the townsfolk into a shell game to convince a big-city cosmetic surgeon to stay, and to convince the plastics company that the population is actually twice what their eyes perceive. What does a town do when faced with complete collapse? Pretty much anything.
Set along the beautiful north-east coast, the film brings to life this gentle slice of desperation and muse. The McKellar characters thrive in their simplicity, are colorful and reachable to all, and as an ensemble, they hit the mark.
Brendan Gleeson (“Mad-Eye” Moody from Harry Potter) plays the mayor with a believable charm and desperation trying to court, convince, connive, and otherwise capture the attention of the big-city doctor (Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights) into believing that their little seaside community is just the right place for a permanent residence. Kathleen (Liane Balaban of Supernatural) wants nothing to do with the conspiracy or the good doctor, but she peaks the doctor’s interest. And as expected, she starts aloof and distant and disinterested and so, in turn, she must also be pursued. The story is gentle, the ensemble quite engaging, the overall impact is a smile.
Putting aside the little bit of corruption (there is bribery), and the contempt for truth (they need a doctor at any cost), visiting “The Grand Seduction” is a pleasant way to spend an evening.