Set in the intimate harbour of Tickle cove, we shine a light over a washed up society, struggling to make ends meet as the residents all collect their welfare cheques, with so few job opportunities available to them. However when a new factory is proposed to the locals, they realise that for it to become a reality, they need to have a doctor – and so when Dr. Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) arrives for a month, they have to do all that they can to persuade him to stay on long-term. Murray (Brendan Gleeson) is the ringleader, concocting several ideas to impress their new visitor – pandering to his interests by pretending to like cricket, jazz music – and cocaine.
There’s an exceedingly genial tone to this piece, which is enhanced greatly by the gentle sound of traditional folk music making up much of the score. Add to that the serene, idyllic aesthetic, with the calming tranquility of the placid ocean, and picturesque landscapes, lending themselves perfectly to the story at hand. There’s also a sweet, if somewhat unsubtle, message that exists, in how we’ve become so dependant as a society on modern technology, and how sometimes a retreat such as the one Dr. Lewis is having, can be desirable, to escape life as we know it for what appears to be a more simplistic existence, highlighting the positive aspects to this particular way of life.
The narrative is somewhat illusory however, requiring quite a suspension of disbelief from the viewer to fully engage with this tale. It does grow absurd and rarely do you believe in, or abide by the way Tickle cove’s inhabitants attempt to seduce the doctor, which grows increasingly more inane as we progress towards the latter stages. Nonetheless, such flaws are counteracted by Gleeson, who is just such a distinctively endearing figure, with such affability. With him at the heart of a film, it makes it just about worth watching. Sadly, however, Kitsch is not quite so blessed with his creation, as the doctor is lacking any palpable development or nuance to his demeanour. On a more positive note, however, while we flirt with the notion of a romantic coming together between the doctor and local resident Kathleen (Liane Balaban), thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, it’s not one we give too much attention to.
Though ultimately a somewhat forgettable feature film, The Grand Seduction does have a lot of heart and a certain charm to it which makes for an easy, gratifying experience. Plus, what this picture preaches as the true meaning of happiness, is essentially just having sex with your partner after a hard day’s work. Someone should tell that to Simon Pegg’s Hector – and saved him all that bother.