Every once in a while, a little film comes along, containing all the necessary ingredients of the tastiest of pies, and leaves you, quite unexpectedly, refreshingly satisfied. This is exactly the way I felt last night after watching “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” a film by director Lasse Hallstrom starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, and Kristin Scott Thomas.
The nuts and bolts of the story are as follows: A fisheries expert (McGregor) has been hired by a consultant (Blunt), who works for a wealthy Sheik (Waked), in order to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen.
The most noteworthy ingredients of this delectable “salmon pie” were the characters and the actors who portrayed them. In the three leads—McGregor, Blunt, and Scott Thomas—we have seasoned actors who know how to bring his or her character to life. As the Press Secretary to the Prime Minister of England, Scott Thomas plays her bossy, decisive, manipulative role to perfection; she is funny and quirky, and shoots straight, always finagling folks so that the Prime Minister receives only the best press during a time when war and disturbing images are prevalent on the news scene. Her job is to help bolster a story that will act as a diversion for the British people.
As the two love interests, McGregor and Blunt have amazing chemistry on the screen and their characters are totally believable. As opposed to many a romantic comedy, the dialogue in this film is not stilted and dry; it is rife with humor and does not sound at all forced or ridiculous. Blunt’s character is charming and you instantly adore her; as well, McGregor’s character is finicky and off-beat, but loveable nonetheless.
The Sheik who decides to host salmon on his land in Yemen, played by Waked, is also an interesting character. While he is appealing to his own whim of wanting to create a place to indulge in salmon fishing, he also appeals to both McGregor’s and Blunt’s sensibilities, and friendships are formed over the project and the sport.
The setting of Yemen is breathtaking and provides another ingredient to make this piece of pie delicious. The look and feel of the cinematography at times is so stunning, all you think to yourself is you’d like to see that part of the world at some point.
And finally, that last ingredient that works is the plot line: I did not read the novel by which the film was made by author Paul Torday, but I’m hoping filmmakers did right by the novel. I found the plot line interesting and unique, something we don’t often find in films today. It’s a film that has romance, friendship, love, and comedy, but truly, the specialness of this film is the tantalizing way all of these ingredients come together, and it’s all driven by likeable—and believable—characters.
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is available OnDemand.