Salmon Fishing In The Yemen + Film Review

 

by Patrick O'Connor

 

 

 

DON'T be fooled by the title, this delightful romcom is as British as they come.

 

It's a sweet, gentle tale with a lovely low-key feel. It's also that rarity, a romance that doesn't need rampant sex scenes – indeed the two main characters share only one chaste kiss throughout the entire film.

 

t is the sort of movie which leaves you with a big, beaming smile and a nice warm glow which is not a bad thing considering that this summer we are about to be bombarded with trashy, American comic-book blockbusters!

 

Ewan McGregor plays nerdy, cold-faced British government fisheries expert Alfred Jones who is roped into a bizarre scheme by a Sheikh who wants to introduce salmon fishing to the desert country of Yemen. The Sheikh is represented in the UK by consultant Harriet Chetwode-Talbot played by the gorgeous Emily Blunt.

 

They are complete opposites, she is hooked up with a dashing army captain, he is trapped in a loveless marriage but they are drawn together as they become captivated by the Sheikh's vision. There is a very old fashioned and almost naïve way in which they circle around each other, edging bit by bit towards mutual attraction and it is a joy to behold.

 

Watching all this is Kristin Scott Thomas as the Prime Minister's press secretary who is desperate for a 'good' Middle East news story to divert attention from bombs and killings.

 

Scott Thomas, who usually plays ice cool English upper class wives, is fabulous as a zany, manipulative fixer who makes Tony Blair's tough talking press secretary Alistair Campbell look like a pussy cat.

 

The message in the film is that anything is possible and director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules/Chocolat) and writer Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty/Slumdog Millionnaire/127 Hours) have certainly succeeded in producing a real gem out of such an unlikely scenario.