Not only have the Gleesons arrived, they have most certainly taken over. There was a time when we, as a nation, worried that Hollywood would not realise the full potential of Brendan Gleeson as the amazing actor that he is but those days are long gone. Gleeson appeared not only in massive franchises like Harry Potter but was winning audiences over with leading roles like The Guard. They’re a talented family that we are exceptionally lucky to call Irish and Gleeson is in a league of his own, arguably one of the finest actors of our generation and an actor who still has a lot more to give.
Reinforcing the idea that all you have to do is simply add the name Gleeson to the bill and you have a winner are films like the wonderful About Time which starred his son, Domhnall, his other son Brian who appears (terrifyingly) in Love/Hate and Gleeson himself in the monumental Calvary. The Gleesons excel in art house, indie films, roles where they are allowed to shine and Gleeson senior’s latest role is no different from that.
A remake of a French-Canadian film entitled Seducing Doctor Lewis, The Grand Seduction revolves around a sleepy former fishing village in Newfoundland. Once proud and prosperous, the village has been left behind by the advent of big business but this leaves the inhabitants in a difficult position, the men are barely employed and with the prospect of a factory moving into the town, they must ensure that there is a doctor in employment in the area.
Thankfully, due to a bribe, a doctor arrives to work for one month in the village but has decided he won’t stay any longer. Tied to his old job and his fiancee, Dr. Lewis (Kitsch) will need to be sweetened up by the local people in order to make him consider staying past his time. However, during his time among the village people, Lewis begins to develop a fondness for the area while they, in turn, begin to develop a fondness for him. But can they convince Dr. Lewis to stay and more importantly, does he in fact want to stay?
Despite the fact that this film isn’t exactly going to change your life, it is incredibly charming in parts and is shot beautifully. Like Dr. Lewis, you can’t help but fall in love with the sleepy little village and their desperate attempts to make the doctor stay. The various attempts also lead to moments of great humour and sweetness. Basically, this is a film you will find difficult to not like.
Gleeson’s performance holds the entire project together. A man who is left to his last devices needs this to work more than anyone else, not only to get back his respect but to win back his wife who has moved on due to the lack of employment and the stubbornness of her husband to leave.
This is a sleepy Sunday film but one that is most certainly worth a watch. A real charmer.