Thursday, March 22, 2012


Review by James Colt Harrison 

With probably the worst title of the year, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is also one of the most delightful films to appear on screens in too many seasons. Audiences are always clamoring for something more than explosions, car crashes, and indescribably hideous monsters prancing about in movie theaters in 3D. This film will provide them with some romance, some drama, and some interesting ideas. 

Director Lasse Hallstrom is a man with some excellent credits on his resume. Not the least of which was My Life As A Dog, he went on to direct Leonardo DiCaprio in his Oscar®-nominated role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules, and the French-flavored film Chocolat. Hallstrom has taken what was a successful novel and turned it into a funny, curious piece that is both romantic, heart-wrenching. Cinematographer Terry Stacey has created beautiful shots of astounding landscape (actually shot in Morocco and not Yemen) that serve as a background to the adventure and comedy scenes. It’s not the scenery that predominates but the story that is in the forefront. 

Gorgeous and smart Emily Blunt is a consultant who is working with a Yemeni sheik who wants to introduce salmon fishing to his arid Middle Eastern country. The idea sounds ridiculous, but the determined sheik (Egyptian star Amr Waked) has the billions of dollars it will take to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. Blunt contacts  fishing expert Ewan McGregor to get him to check out all the possibilities. With the salmon being a cold water fish, it is up to him to determine whether the fish can be scooped out of the cold British and Scottish lake and transported to the searingly dry and hot country of Yemen under strict conditions.

With the lovely Blunt and handsome McGregor working closely for months in harmony, an undercurrent of romance rears its head. In what is a difficult situation---he is unhappily married and she is having a romance with a soldier who has been shipped off to Afghanistan---Blunt and McGregor develop a keen liking for each other, but at arm’s length. It’s sweet and tender and often funny.

Kristen Scott Thomas is a consummate actress who steals every scene she is in as the press secretary for Parliament. She’s hysterically funny and witty as a take-charge woman who bosses the Prime Minister himself. Her task is to make the British government look good as  partner in this wild and untried scheme.This is a calmly made story that is comfortable like an old pair of slippers. It is charming to say the least, And it offers an adult romantic story that is genuinely funny. Forget the goofy title; go see it.

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