The Grand Seduction is a 2013 Canadian film set in the small harbour of Tickle Head, Newfoundland. Like many communities on the East Coast, Tickle Head’s economy collapsed with the fish stocks their livelihoods were based on, and now the once proud town is disintegrating. Buildings have fallen into disrepair, long-time residents increasingly leave for cities and those few who stubbornly remain in the harbour scrape by on welfare and the feelings of shame that it comes with.
Enter Murray French. He is one of these welfare-dependent Tickle Heads who was born and raised in the Harbour; he misses his fed-up wife who left for a job in the City. An oil company is considering building a petro-chemical recycling plant that will provide enough jobs for everyone, if the town can meet a set of conditions, including procuring a full-time doctor. So Murray spearheads a campaign to seduce a visiting doctor (Paul Lewis) over the course of a month, convincing him that Tickle Head is the perfect place to settle down and sign a long-term contract.
Enter the comedy.
From pretending that the entire community is in love with cricket to pre-catching fish and planting them on the good doctor’s hook, the entire town is in on the charade to charm Dr. Lewis.
I love the charm and character of this film. It is very Canadian and many things in the film seemed familiar to me. It was filmed in New Foundland and the music and scenery are absolutely beautiful. I’ve thought about moving out that way for a long time and this film just increases that longing in me.
The Grand Seduction isn’t a film that relies on flashy special effects or scantily-clad, movie-perfect Hollywood youth. The majority of actors are middle-aged or older. And while the scenery is gorgeous, it is the writing that keeps pushing the plot along, and charming the audience. No crudeness required.
Gordon Pinsent, then age 83, won the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where Monica Bartyzel of The Week wrote of the film: “The Grand Seduction is a super-sweet community tale sparked by the inclusion of McKellar’s wry humor [sic]. It’s a film overflowing with charm from end to end.”
NFL is the only eastern province that I have yet to visit and this film has me cruising the travel websites and packing a bag!
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