Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt generate terrific chemistry is this quirky romantic comedy from Lasse Hallström, based on the bestseller by Paul Torday. McGregor plays a fisheries scientist and avid angler who is confounded when Blunt’s character asks him to embark on what seems like a preposterous project: creating a salmon river in the sands of Yemen. A Yemeni sheik with a Scottish mansion and a passion for fly-fishing—played with tender charm by Amr Waked—is bankrolling the project. And the British PM’s press secretary (Kristin-Scott Thomas) is spinning the venture as an upbeat distraction from the horrors of war in Afghanistan. Her giddy, over-the-top caricature throws the tone of the film off—it’s as if she’s acting in a screwball comedy that’s torqued way higher than the rest of the film. But McGregor and Blunt are both a picture of droll restraint, as their shy romance comes to the surface. McGregor’s Scottish wit is as nuanced as single-malt scotch, the story has a sweet arc, and the landscapes are lovely. It’s no surprise Salmon Fishing in the Yemen has emerged as one of TIFF’s big crowd-pleasers.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
FILED UNDER: Hotlist