The Grand Seduction
|The Grand Seduction|
|Directed by||Don McKellar|
|Produced by||Barbara Doran
|Written by||Ken Scott
|Music by||Francois-Pierre Lue
|Edited by||Dominique Fortin|
|Distributed by||Entertainment One|
|Box office||$4.3 million|
The Grand Seduction is a 2013 Canadian comedy film directed by Don McKellar and written by Ken Scott and Michael Dowse. The film stars Taylor Kitsch, Brendan Gleeson, Liane Balaban and Gordon Pinsent. It is based on a 2003 French-Canadian film, La Grande Séduction.
The story begins with Murray French as a young boy, narrating about his father, one of the fishermen in the small community of Tickle Head, Newfoundland. Murray feels that the community has a shared sense of purpose and an ethic of hard work, and notes his parents' domestic bliss.
Several years later, the men of Tickle Head (including Murray) line up at the town's post office to receive welfare cheques from post office clerk Kathleen and cash them with bank branch manager Henry Tilley. Adding to the indignity, Murray's wife is separating from him for a job in St. John's. At a town meeting, the mayor tells Murray that a petrochemical factory was being negotiated for the town, but that the company requires a doctor to be resident there, and the community has been trying unsuccessfully for 8 years to find one. Murray resolves that the factory, and thus the doctor, are the solution to his troubles. He later observes the mayor surreptitiously leaving town with his family for a job in St. John's as well.
In St. John's, Dr. Paul Lewis, a plastic surgeon, is flying home after being part of a winning team in a cricket competition, when a security agent finds cocaine in his luggage. The agent is the former mayor of Tickle Head, who makes a deal with Lewis. In exchange for overlooking the possession of cocaine, Dr. Lewis agrees to live in the town for one month. Murray arranges for the "seduction" of Dr. Lewis to a long-term contract, lying to the townspeople that this will guarantee the choice of Tickle Head as the location for the new factory. As part of the ruse, he convinces the townspeople to pretend to play cricket, the doctor's favourite sport, and also taps the doctor's phone to learn more ways to entice him to stay.
The executive of the petrochemical company (Peter Keleghan) visits the town and tells Murray, posing as the mayor, that the rival town of St. Anne has made a more attractive offer, including a bribe. The executive demands a bribe of $100,000 before the plant will be awarded to Tickle Head, as well as expressing concern about a population in Tickle Head that is too small for the factory. Henry's bank denies the request for a loan, and when Henry presses the issue, tells him that he could be replaced with an ATM, leading Henry to approve the loan against bank instructions, knowing he will be fired.
Meanwhile, the town's deception and favourable attention do persuade Lewis to stay, helped also by the discovery that his fiancée Helen has been cheating on him with his best friend. But when he accepts the position in front of the whole town, in a speech praising their authenticity and integrity, Murray ashamedly lies and tells him that another doctor has already accepted the position. Kathleen then tells Lewis the truth, revealing the deceptions, causing Lewis to angrily confront Murray just as the executive is signing the paperwork for the factory. After an impassioned speech by Murray, the doctor agrees to stay, and the company agrees to build the factory.
Some time later, the factory has opened, bringing dignity to the town again. Murray has been reunited with his wife, and there is a job for Henry, who has been replaced with an ATM. The film ends with a similar satisfied ending to Murray's opening flashback.
- Taylor Kitsch as Dr. Paul Lewis
- Brendan Gleeson as Murray French
- Liane Balaban as Kathleen
- Gordon Pinsent as Simon
- Mark Critch as Henry Tilley
- Peter Keleghan as Oil Executive
- Mary Walsh as Vera
- Matt Watts as Frank Dalton
- Anna Hopkins as Helen (voice)
- Rhonda Rodgers as Samantha
- Lawrence Barry as Mayor Tom Fitzpatrick
- Percy Hynes White as Young Murray
The Grand Seduction is based on the 2003 film Seducing Doctor Lewis (original French title La grande séduction). Shortly after it came out at Sundance Film Festival, an English-speaking version of the film was recommended. South Korea, Spain and Canada were all interested in doing a remake but only Canada, France and Italy ultimately developed remakes. Initially, Michael Dowse was to direct the film but he dropped out due to "artistic differences" with producer Roger Frappier. Ken Scott, who wrote the original script, was then attached at the direction of the film. He and Frappier planned the remake to be 80 per cent the same as the original. The film was expected to start shooting on 28 August 2011, but it got delayed. In April 2012, Scott left the project to focus on the remaking of his Starbuck film. In May 2012, Don McKellar came on board as director.
In 2011, there had been talks to have Robin Williams in the film but scheduling conflicts got in the way. Taylor Kitsch's and Brendan Gleeson's participation was confirmed in July 2012. Set in the fictional harbour of Tickle Head, principal photography started on 30 July 2012 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. The film was also shot in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Filming wrapped in September 2012.
The film was premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It was also selected as the opening film of the Atlantic Film Festival and the Calgary International Film Festival.
Upon the screening at TIFF, The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore described the film as a "charming, wholly commercial little comedy" that is "formulaic but pleasing", and praised Gleeson's performance. In her overview of the films shown at TIFF, Monika Bartyzel of The Week wrote: "The Grand Seduction is a super-sweet community tale sparked by the inclusion of McKellar's wry humor. It's a film overflowing with charm from end to end."
Overall critical reception to the film has been mixed. The film currently holds a 62% "Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average critical rating of 5.9/10, while holding a much stronger 78% approval rating from audiences, with an average audience score of 7.8/10. On Metacritic, the film holds a meta-score of 57/100, indicating mixed or average reviews, based on 20 critical reviews; however, only one of those twenty reviews self-identifies as "negative", with 11 positive reviews and 8 mixed reviews.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $323,743 in 94 theaters in the United States, ranking #17 at the box office. By the end of its run, The Grand Seduction grossed $3,878,262
Awards and accolades
|2013||Nominated||Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival||Best North American Independent Film||Don McKellar|
|2014||Nominated||Genie Awards||Best Motion Picture||Roger Frappier, Barbara Doran|
|Nominated||Best Adapted Screenplay||Ken Scott, Michael Dowse|
|Nominated||Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role||Brendan Gleeson|
|Won||Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role||Gordon Pinsent|
|Won||Directors Guild of Canada||Direction - Feature Film||Don McKellar|
|Nominated||Production Design - Feature Film||Guy Lalande|
|Nominated||Feature Film||Don McKellar, Guy Lalande, François Sénécal, Lynn Andrews|
|Nominated||Canadian Screen Awards||Motion Picture||Roger Frappier, Barbara Doran|
- Fleming, Mike (30 July 2012). "Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch Find 'The Grand Seduction'". Deadline.com. PMC. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- "The Grand Seduction (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Canadian Screen Awards: Orphan Black, Less Than Kind, Enemy nominated". CBC News, 13 January 2014.
- "Quebec film La Grande Seduction gets triple remake". CBC News. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Kelly, Brendan (20 June 2011). "Ken Scott to direct English remake of the 2003 Quebec film hit La grande seduction". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Bradbury, Tara (22 June 2011). "Major film remake to be shot in Trinity Bight". The Telegram. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Kelly, Brendan (24 April 2012). "Producer Roger Frappier "flabbergasted" that Ken Scott has dropped out of The Grand Seduction". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Kelly, Brendan (2 May 2012). "Don McKellar to direct The Grand Seduction". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Dunlevy, T'Cha (30 July 2012). "Gleeson, Kitsch to star in The Grand Seduction; shooting starts today". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- "Trinity Bay seduces Hollywood stars for film remake". CBC News. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- "DOUGLAS KOCH WRAPS "THE GRAND SEDUCTION"". Sesler & Company. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- ""The Grand Seduction" premiered at 2013 Toronto International Film Festival". upandcomers.net. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Toronto film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian. London. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "The Grand Seduction to open Atlantic film fest". CBC News. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Volmers, Eric (19 September 2013). "The Grand Seduction a decidedly Canadian way to open the Calgary International Film Festival". The Calgary Herald. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- DeFore, John (11 September 2013). "The Grand Seduction: Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Bartyzel, Monika (18 September 2013). "Toronto International Film Festival: 7 more movies you should know about". The Week. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- "The Grand Seduction - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "The Grand Seduction Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-06-27.