6.8/10
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147 user 221 critic

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 20 April 2012 (UK)
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A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik'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.

Director:

Lasse Hallström

Writers:

Simon Beaufoy, Paul Torday (novel)
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amr Waked ... Sheikh Muhammed
Emily Blunt ... Harriet
Catherine Steadman ... Ashley
Tom Mison ... Capt. Robert Mayers
Ewan McGregor ... Dr. Alfred Jones
Rachael Stirling ... Mary Jones
Kristin Scott Thomas ... Patricia Maxwell
Tom Beard ... Peter Maxwell
Jill Baker ... Betty
Conleth Hill ... Bernard Sugden
Alex Taylor-McDowall ... Edward Maxwell
Matilda White Matilda White ... Abby Maxwell
Otto Farrant ... Joshua Maxwell
Hamish Gray Hamish Gray ... Malcolm
Clive Wood ... Tom Price-Williams
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Storyline

A visionary sheik believes his passion for the peaceful pastime of salmon fishing can enrich the lives of his people, and he dreams of bringing the sport to the not so fish-friendly desert. Willing to spare no expense, he instructs his representative to turn the dream into reality, an extraordinary feat that will require the involvement of Britain's leading fisheries expert who happens to think the project both absurd and unachievable. That is, until the Prime Minister's overzealous press secretary latches on to it as a 'good will' story. Now, this unlikely team will put it all on the line and embark on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

salmon | fishing | fish | desert | dam | See All (255) »

Taglines:

Make the impossible possible.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content, and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Arabic | Mandarin

Release Date:

20 April 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Un amor imposible See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$225,894, 11 March 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$9,025,107, 3 June 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Alfred (Ewan McGregor) goes to Harriet's apartment, he is shown walking in the opposite direction of the other people in the street, similar to the salmon which swims against the current. See more »

Goofs

When the scene in the helicopter is filmed, the only occupants are the pilot, Dr. Jones, and Harriet. As the copter lands, there is obviously someone wearing a tan shirt sitting in the passenger seat nearest the exit door. The door opens, but only Dr. Jones exits the back seat. See more »

Quotes

Tom Price-Williams: For the last time Sugden there is absolutely no way I can get you these fish!
Bernard Sugden: Tom, this comes from the top. The very top.
Tom Price-Williams: I don't care if God's taken up fly fishing.
Bernard Sugden: Now I suggest you make this work Tom.
Tom Price-Williams: Is that a threat Sugden?
Bernard Sugden: These are difficult days Tom. Cuts. Cuts everywhere. I don't know. Is the Environment Agency a front line service?
Tom Price-Williams: [sighs] It is a threat.
Bernard Sugden: See it as an opportunity.
See more »

Alternate Versions

For the American theatrical release, references to the supermarket chain Tesco were dubbed over and replaced with Target. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Have I Got News for You: Episode #43.5 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Touch My Booty
Performed by Honeypot & VM
Written by Tom Sainty & Graeme Cohen
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Salmon Fishing" Makes For An Interesting Ride
27 February 2012 | by D_BurkeSee all my reviews

Enjoying a film like "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" is similar to acquiring a taste for actual fishing. Like the sport that some find invigorating while others find it dreadfully dull, this film has its draggy moments. However, there are also enlightening points to the movie that come when you least expect them.

Of course, that is not to say that you have to actually LIKE fishing, or understand it, to enjoy "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen". Fishing serves as a crucial plot point, but you don't have to be a card-carrying member of Cabella's or L.L. Bean to enjoy it.

The film has elements of romantic comedy, environmentalism, foreign relations drama, and insightfulness that makes it difficult to concretely categorize. Fortunately, all these facets combine to create a story that's far from predictable. Just like a current, there are times you don't know where the story is going.

Ewan McGregor plays Fred Jones, a fisheries expert for the British government who receives an odd request from legal representative Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt). Harriet represents a wealthy sheik (Amr Waked) who resides in both Great Britain and Yemen, and has an unusual fondness for salmon fishing. He wants to take a healthy population of salmon from the British lakes, and transport them to the Yemen River to live and breed.

The reason this plot does not make for good cocktail party small talk or water cooler chatter is because it takes such a long time to describe the rationale behind such an ambitious task. For instance, can salmon, who thrive in cold water, even survive in the Middle East, where it's obviously hot? Plus, why would people from Yemen even be interested in fishing? The film answers these questions and others very well, and allows the story to breathe better as each subplot reveals itself. Nothing is rushed in this movie, which, while a few parts drag here and there, is overall a welcome departure from certain high-octane multiplex drivel that passes as entertainment.

Once you actually listen to the characters and hear their reasoning, a lot of the story makes sense. This fact is especially true for Amr Waked, who is not yet a well known actor, but whose character has a profound impact on the film.

Western audiences are not used to seeing a Middle Eastern character that is not a terrorist, let alone one who credibly connects fishing and faith better than any PBS show even could. Waked, who is Egyptian in real life but whose character is Yemeni, does so incredibly well, and is truly the breakout star of this movie. It's a shame that Oscar season just ended, because the early release of this film alone hurts his chances of receiving a Best Supporting Actor nomination, although he deserves it.

The inevitable love story in the movie is also unpredictable, if only because you're not sure whether McGregor and Blunt should be together. McGregor's Fred is married, and Blunt's Harriet has a boyfriend who is sent off to fight in the Afghanistan War. There are plot twists for both characters, but even you, the audience, remains unsure whether the two characters working together so well to bring salmon to Yemen means they should be together. It creates a necessary tension few romantic comedies dare to address.

As for their performances, McGregor seems to play a more mature leading role than in other films he's made before. His character here is more practical than idealist (as in "Moulin Rouge" (2001)), more professional than playboy (as in "Down With Love" (2003)), and knows where his morals lie (unlike "Trainspotting" (1996)). While he was good in those other films, he can only play those roles for so long.

Emily Blunt also delivered a balanced, multi-layered performance, and worked very well off McGregor. I thought there would be an explanation for why her character's last name was hyphenated, as you almost never see characters with two last names in movies. Could there have been a failed marriage in her past, perhaps? It wasn't ever explained, nor was it really crucial to the plot.

Kristin Scott Thomas also provides some unexpected comic relief as a press secretary for Parliament who chats with the British Prime Minister on Instant Messenger. Her character spearheads the campaign to transport the salmon to Yemen in order to divert public attention from the Afghanistan War. Again, a crucial subplot, but one that has to be seen, not explained second hand.

"Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" is enjoyable like some find fishing to be: there's a lot of calm to it, but when the funny parts happen, they can be as surprising and as fulfilling as catching a big fish. Also, if you actually listen to Amr Waked's character the same way some expert fisherman have pearls of wisdom, the movie's enjoyment may even come as a bigger surprise.


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