TMN Movie Review: "The Grand Seduction"

Photo Credit: Entertainment One

Rating: PG-13
Length: 113
Release Date: Feb. 1, 2014
Directed by: Don McKellar
Genre: Comedy

"The Grand Seduction" is a heartwarming comedy about the small Newfoundland town of Tickle Head. Tickle Head is set in an idyllic cove, but the town's once bustling economy has slowed to nothing. When the chance to have a factory contract that would save the town arises, everyone jumps on board. Unfortunately, the contract stipulates that the town must have at least one doctor. Town leader Murray French manages to rally his troops to find Dr. Kitsch, a young doctor from the city who is willing to take on the role of Tickle Head's temporary physician. The task of keeping him there forever falls to Murray and the rest of the gang.

When the doctor arrives, he is pleasantly surprised to find the small town far more quaint than it was described. What he doesn't know is that the entire town, led by Murray, has been working non-stop to paint as idyllic a picture as possible in order to seduce the doctor into staying. From painting dilapidated buildings to staging elaborate cricket matches, the town will stop at nothing to hold onto the chance of financial revitalization and hope. As the doctor settles in, he finds it easier to adapt to small town life than he ever imagined. In fact, he sees the change of pace as a welcome departure from the ordinary, albeit a temporary one.

When town beauty Kathleen catches his eye, the doctor is forced to question whether sticking around is really such a bad idea after all. Unbeknownst to him, Kathleen has been co-opted into the plan to get the doctor to stay long term, even if it means tugging at his heart strings. While Kathleen begins the film by humoring Murray and the rest, her feelings for the doctor eventually take on a life of their own. Whether she will confess to him before the entire town's charade can come crashing down just may determine the fate of Tickle Head.

"The Grand Seduction" is one of the most unique dramatic comedies to hit theaters in decades. Focusing on a small town, the close-knit dynamics between the film's characters create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The homespun charm of Tickle Head is undeniable, especially when paired with breathtaking views of the Newfoundland coastline. Few films have managed to capture the candor and realness found within the simple lives of Tickle Head's residents. The transition of the town from hopeless and dependent on the government to full of life and ambition is an inspiring one that audiences are sure to love. Both the individual characters and the town as a whole see plenty of growth over the life of this endearing film.

The humor in "The Grand Seduction" is second to none, and it's sure to leave audiences in stitches with plenty of small-town antics and slice-of-life humor. Neither crude nor prudish, "The Grand Seduction" strikes the perfect balance of humor that so many films strive to achieve. There is never a dull moment as the doctor sees one patient after another, many of whom haven't seen a doctor in years. From athletes foot turned into athletes leg, the medical humor keeps rolling throughout the film.

Although "The Grand Seduction" is a comedic film, there is no shortage of drama. While the doctor is hurt by the lies and betrayal when he first uncovers the town's plot to keep him because of the factory, he soon looks past his hurt feelings to see the desperation that led them to their actions. Due to a complete lack of basic medical care, the town's residents have been scarred literally and figuratively. Kitsch is a caring physician before anything else, and he begins to realize that the residents of Tickle Head need him around for more than just their factory contract. He went into medicine to save lives, but only he can decide whether this bizarre coastal town is the place where he fulfills his professional calling.

"The Grand Seduction" shines from start to finish with a cast that perfectly blends heartfelt emotion with perfectly timed comedy. The views are exquisite at every point throughout the film, setting the perfect backdrop for the backwards little town of Tickle Head. Even the film's musical score perfectly captures its small-town ambiance and charmingly scaled back themes. The most seductive element of the film lies within the doctor's own personal journey as he attempts to fit into a world like none he has ever known. The final act of "The Grand Seduction" culminates in a surprising twist no one could see coming.