The Grand Seduction (Canada, 2013)

Directed by: Don McKellar. Again, I had to see this one for semi-professional purposes, but I found it a delightful little film. I could talk all day about my conflicted, inconsistent opinions of “Canadian film”, but this movie kind of embraces all of the usual markers and goes for broke—a heartwarming little mid-budget movie with a non-Canadian lead (Brendan Gleeson) and a Canadian expat lead (Taylor Kitsch), some Canadian film royalty (Gordon Pinsent), and the periphery stuffed with This Hour Has 22 Minutes alumni (Mark Critch, Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh), with enough salty sense of humour to make it enjoyable but still easy-going enough that everyone and their grandma can enjoy it. And maybe it was just the mental/spiritual place I was in when I saw this movie, but all of that didn’t read as a giant weakness to me, it read as a delightfully straightforward, pleasant little 2 hours. There’s certainly a lot of holes that can be poked in this thing, especially in the sexual politics/gender dynamics going on, but they could be a lot worse, and I guess I was feeling charitable for the above reasons mentioned. They can’t all be edgy, mindfuck, psychological thrillers with twist endings, painting a grim, “realistic” portrayal of “real life”—they can’t all be David Fincher/Christopher Nolan/Lars Von Trier etc etc can they? Sometimes it’s just nice to enter a little world where everything is going to be okay, and everyone has a nice chuckle from time to time. This is all the more refreshing coming from McKellar, who probably has some edgy stuff in him yet, but who knows what side of the bread is buttered in the Canadian filmscape. This was a delightful little love letter to small town life, to Newfoundland, and it was great to see Brendan Gleeson using basically his natural Irish accent and blending into the landscape of Newfoundland accents (to my Western ear). If this town exists, I’d like to go, wouldn’t you?

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