2011. PG-13. 107 minutes. Starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas and Rachael Stirling. Directed by Lasse Hallström
A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a Sheikh‘s vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible. [imdb]
elizabeth: Blah, blah, blah. If you never listen to me again in your life, you must see this movie to experience Amr Waked’s portrayal of Sheikh Muhammed. I am not ashamed to say that medics had to tend to me three times during the movie. Those hypnotic eyes. That smile. Those flowing gowns. Medics are needed in aisle three.
Back to the Yemeni sheik and the premise of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen: Sheikh Muhammed wants to bring salmon fishing to his country as a way to symbolize harmony between the East and the West. Brilliant idea. So when things get tough, you go fishing together. It could almost work.
Nicole: While Elizabeth is clearly smitten (as was I) with Amr Waked, the other actors’ performances were equally well crafted. I was totally expecting to be bored out of my mind during this film. I figured, eh, if it’s terrible, I’ll just drool over Ewan McGregor for two hours. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised to be so totally drawn in?
My heart broke a little for Ewan’s tragic-comic portrayal as fisheries expert Dr. Alfred Jones, whose high-functioning Autism makes him equal parts outspoken and introverted. My heart broke again for Emily Blunt’s Harriet, who fights through her shyness to open up to love only to experience instantaneous tragedy followed by unexpected surprise. And I nearly peed myself with laughter at Kristin Scott Thomas’ portrayal of the Prime Minister’s press secretary – a really surprising departure for her that was a delight to watch.
And I think, ultimately, that’s what really made this movie. It was not so much the story or the directing or the art direction – but the characters. And in other hands, perhaps those characters wouldn’t have been as loveable as Ewan, Emily, and Kristin made them. With another cast, Elizabeth and I might well have preferred to watch the middle-aged couple in front of us necking for two hours. (I do hope they found a hotel room. Oh, how I wish I could unsee the things I’ve seen.)
elizabeth: You were going to drool while sitting next to me? And we were making fun of that sucking-face couple?
Nicole: Hey, you were the one who needed a defibrillator whenever Amr appeared on screen. Pot. Kettle. Black.
elizabeth: I am very confident in stating that this one of my favorite movies in a long time. I like movies that are like a soft kiss on the lips as opposed to whatever the couple in front of us was doing. I am so in favor of people trying to come up with ways for the world to live in harmony that I will accept a fictional account for 107 minutes.
And, Nicole, when are we going to disagree? God forbid people will think we get along. If they only knew.
Nicole: I long for the day we disagree. This agreeing crap is really wearing thin.