TIFF: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen ... Quite a Catch

Posted by George Prentice on Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Ewan McGregor stars in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  • Ewan McGregor stars in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

If I were to tell you what Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is about, I might lose your interest. Suffice to say that it is one of the most surprising, refreshing, smart romantic comedies in quite some time.

The movie stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, but the real luster comes from director Lasse Hallstrom who makes all the right moves as he does so often (Cider House Rules, Chocolat). Somehow he turns the most unusual source material—in this case, a novel by Paul Torday—into a fizzy burst of sparkling water that tickles your nose.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the improbable story of a buttoned-down fisheries scientist (McGregor) trying to bring salmon fishing to the wadis of the Yemen Highlands with the help of a high-maintenance financial analyst (Blunt). Sprinkle in some political double-dealing with a hilarious performance from Kristin Scott Thomas, prickly international relations and a bit of romance, and you have a film that had Saturday night’s world premiere audience cheering at Toronto’s Prince of Wales Theatre. Best of all, it was that kind of cheer that exudes a “I can’t believe how good this was” type of vibe.

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