With limited release and lack of publicity, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is not a well-known title. It isn’t a thrilling blockbuster or a quiet indie film. It is based off Paul Torday’s novel of the same name, and I would describe it as calm, realistic and endearing. Part political satire, part love story, it centers on Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor), a fisheries scientist, with a failing marriage and a dull life. When Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), a consultant for a rich Middle-Eastern sheikh (Amr Waked), introduces the idea of salmon fishing in the desert, the three embark on a quirky mission to create the impossible.
For anyone who knows anything about the exhilarating sport of salmon fishing, they know it’s cold, foggy and wet: three adjectives not usually associated with the desert. So the film explores the concept of faith: having faith in hooking fish, having faith in outlandish ideas, and having faith in everyday life. Throughout the journey, the two leads pursue a peculiar romance, because every story has a love story.
From the director of “Chocolat” and the screenwriter of “Slumdog Millionaire,” the film, like its predecessors, is unique and interesting. It takes a simple plot and gives it character, and, even with its slow moments, I really liked it. Although, I’ll admit, I was one of about five people under the age of 60 in the theatre. I originally wanted to see the movie because McGregor and Blunt are such great actors. They always give flawless and often hilarious performances, and “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is no exception! McGregor plays an annoyed, no nonsense scientist who thinks everyone involved with the project is a bloody idiot (this is a British film, by the way), while Blunt portrays a glamorous, free-spirit who believes the mission is a superb idea. They balance each other so nicely, and you cannot help but root for such good-hearted characters.
Truthfully, it is really an enlightening, sweet film, even if the characters look like they jumped out of an L.L. Bean catalogue. Perhaps you will learn a thing or two about faith. I promise you will leave the theatre with lifted spirits, a temporary carefree attitude, and the urge to attempt fly-fishing. See for yourself: Watch the trailer here.