A much-needed boost, in the form of a new factory, is promised to the residents of the tiny fishing village St. Marie-La-Mauderne, provided they can lure a doctor to take up full-time residency on the island. Inspired, the villagers devise a scheme to make Dr. Christopher Lewis a local.
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Ste-Marie-La-Mauderne is a small, depressed coastal village in Québec, where even fishing as an industry has died. Almost everyone is on welfare, including Germain Lesage. An option for most townsfolk is to move to the city, something that Germain refuses to do, even though his wife, Hélène, wants to at least consider it, just because her brother could provide her with a job. The Mayor, Réal Fournier, would sell out the townsfolk in his attempts to lure industry to the town, still with no takers. Part of their catch-22 situation in luring industry there is that there is no doctor, a condition made by one company owned by M. Dupré that would potentially locate his new plastic container factory there. As such, Germain and a few of his friends, Henri Giroux and Yvon Brunet, decide to reach out to every doctor in Québec to see if he/she can be enticed to move there. Due to a little police strong-arming, they get one nibble in the form of thirty-three year old Montréal plastic surgeon, Dr.... Written by
Laughing throughout the film makes this a top comedy
This is one of those films which reminds viewers that the medium can be smart and very, very funny at the same time. Even better, La Grande Seduction manages to make an audience laugh throughout its length without constantly resorting to the tired bathroom, sex or slapstick humour employed in so many other films.
Like the most predictable humour found in modern sitcoms, the laughs are derived from deception in one form or another. Still, the over-the-top means employed and the end itself - convincing a city doctor to reside in a physician-free outport - allows any viewer to simply enjoy what unfolds, and relish both the obvious and the obtuse.
I had the pleasure of watching the movie with my in-laws, and can attest that the guffaws span all ages and can break through any language barrier. Hands down, it was the funniest movie any of us had seen in a number of years. Highly recommended.
The irony of the situation was that we purchased the DVD just for the purpose of seeing the scenery. La Grande Seduction was shot in Harrington Harbor, an island outport on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which my wife and I had visited earlier this summer. The lovely village connected only by boardwalks and dominated by pedestrians and ATVs instead of cars is surrounded by the wonderful geography typical of the St. Lawrence Basse-Cote-Nord (Lower North Shore). Unsurprisingly, the real but unique location, still a working fishing village, does not have problems attracting doctors or anyone else. The painful part is not being able to stay longer.
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