Friday, June 13, 2014

The Grand Seduction

Ten years ago I saw a charming and original French comedy at the Philadelphia Film Festival called 'Seducing Dr. Lewis'.  (Though its original French title was 'Le Grande Seduction'.)  It was a sweet and funny story of a small fishing village with high unemployment that desperately needs a factory to be built, but to do so they need to find a doctor willing to live there for 5 years.  And thus begins the grand seduction.  It was not only the most unexpected highlight of the festival that year, but also one of my favorite foreign films I had ever seen.  (Of course, I hadn't seen a whole lot of foreign films at that point.)  But ten years later it has remained near and dear to my heart.  But now, the Canadians have remade it in English.  And this concerned me, as English remakes of brilliant foreign language films don't have a great track record.  But the casting of the great Brendan Gleeson in the lead tempered my worries.  And I was happy to see that they didn't change the story much at all.  In fact, many of the scenes seemed like a shot for shot remake of the original.  I guess why mess with perfection?  But with both versions so similar, it's hard for me to say which is better.  Maybe it's for nostalgia purposes only, but there's just something about the original French version that seems to win by a nose.

Seducing Dr. Lewis (2004)    Grade: A
The Grand Seduction (2014)     Grade: A-

Who is this movie for?  Anyone and everyone who doesn't need a superhero, monster, or cartoon character to be entertained.  It's light, charming, feel good, original entertainment.

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