Theater and movie going hasn’t been real successful around here lately; I feel like I’ve been whining about everything I’ve seen.
That stops today. Gail and I went to the Orinda Theater and saw Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. It wasn’t heavy, there isn’t any action to speak of, no good sex scenes, just 2 hours of old fashioned love story and entertainment.
After making love, if the man says “I love you Mary” and the woman says “That should hold you for a while”, you know their relationship isn’t going to last, and so it is for Dr. Alfred Jones. His wife goes to work in Geneva; he goes to work in Yemen, creating a water system that will support spawning salmon while providing irrigation to the desert. He has been forced into attempting what is presumably an impossible task because a very rich sheik wants the project and it is politically expedient for the British Government.
Of course, he has to fall in love with Harriet, the Sheik’s investment advisor. And of course, she is already in love with Robert, who is off on a secret special mission, then dies, then doesn’t die, then nearly dies again.
There are good guys. There are Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. There is beautiful scenery and silly plot implausibilities and outright ridiculous plot devices.
And I don’t care. I liked it. I wanted the good guy to get the girl and make the fish swim upstream and it all worked out.
In many ways, it’s a formula movie. Strange man gets an inspiration to do something probably impossible. He recruits a shy nerdy type to make it happen, and against all odds they succeed. Along the way, shy nerdy guy falls in love with beautiful woman, who somehow falls in love with him.
Disasters befall. Moral dilemmas are resolved. Hilarious subplots abound. To the swelling of violins and horns, the project succeeds, love succeeds, everyone rides off into the sunset bathed in golden light and glory. The End.
I felt like I had seen this formula many times before, frequently from Disney. Still, it was excellently crafted albeit relatively predictable.
In particular, I was entranced by the performance of Kristin Scott Thomas, the hard bitten, cynical, foul mouthed press secretary who is also the kindly mom to her family. Providing comic relief and moving the story forward simultaneously, Scott Thomas keeps the pace of the movie on track.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen won’t be winning any Academy Awards, but if you go see it you’ll come home happy. What more can you expect for your $10?