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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

score: 
A-
Director: 
Lasse Hallström
Cast: 
Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, and Kristin Scott Thomas
Running Time: 
90
Rated: 
PG-13
Author(s): 

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the year’s best romantic drama that you’ve never heard of, though I wish that weren’t the case. Charming and well written, it’s a shame that a film starring two captivating actors hasn’t been promoted as such.  I will freely admit the title made me question its validity, but hear me out.

For starters, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is one of the more literal titles since last year’s Man on a Ledge. In this film, an overzealous sheik requests the help of a fishery expert to create an environment in the Yemen where it would be possible to fly-fish.  While that is the actual device for moving the story along, the film is truly a story of love.

I couldn’t help but notice how topical the story felt as the whole reason the Brits decided to go along with the Yemen project was in order to facilitate goodwill between them and the Yemen people.  It’s as if something like this has or could happen in hopes of spinning good press.

Kristin Scott Thomas’s scene-stealing Patricia Maxwell, the British Prime Minister’s press secretary, concocted the ingenious red herring.  And while found her involvement a huge boost to the overall film, I was equally as disappointed by director Lasse Hallström’s lack of detail to the relationship blooming between his two leads.  Prior to their meeting, Blunt’s Ms. Chetwode-Talbot was seeing a military man with whom she claimed she was in love with.  McGregor’s Dr. Jones was actually married. This cavalier attitude toward their partners was a bit of a downer, especially since I wanted them to fall in love on their own terms.

Regardless, the rest of Oscar-winner Simon Beaufoy’s script was impeccably written.  His ability to evenly balance comedy and drama helps shield the film from potential genre pitfalls, ultimately giving Salmon Fishing in the Yemen a delightful story that should hold up well with audiences of all ages.