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article imageReview: ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ will keep audiences on the line Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 9, 2012 in Entertainment
‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ is a wonderful romantic comedy that evolves over the unusual enterprise of constructing a casting river in the middle of the desert.
First, the title – it's terrible. Yes, the movie is about the possibility of fishing for salmon in that particular desert area. But Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is not nearly as dull as the title would have many assume. In fact, it's quite entertaining.
Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) is an expert in London's fisheries department who receives what he believes is the most ridiculous proposition in an email from a consultant named Harriet (Emily Blunt). She's attempting to help Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) realize his dream of bringing fly fishing to the desert. After higher government officials get wind of the project, Alfred is forced to retract his cheeky rebuke and take the lead - all in the name of "Anglo-Yemeni cooperation." However, he eventually finds himself seduced by the sheikh's passion for the sport, caught up in Harriet's enthusiasm and invested in the plan's success.
Though it may not sound like it (or even seem like it at first), this film is ultimately a love story. Alfred feels trapped in a strained marriage, while Harriet is longing for a man she barely knew. The circumstances under which they meet are definitely not ideal, but neither can resist the other’s charms and they find themselves falling for one another despite the various objections. The gradual build towards their union is a major part of the story, but it shares the spotlight with the touching endeavour to achieve the unachievable.
Fly fishing is one of those quiet, meditative activities that inspire peace and oneness with nature. This doesn’t sound like the best premise for a film, but it works. Director Lasse Hallström is very familiar with the art of telling a good love story, but here he also applies those skills to conveying the passion of the sheikh. Muhammed understands the immensity of the challenge he is attempting to surmount, but after hearing him speak of why he must be successful it’s impossible not to side with him.
Most unexpectedly, this film is very funny. The clever communications via email and instant messenger are expertly played to comic effect. McGregor revives the comedic timing and clever charisma of earlier pictures, such as Down with Love, to enchant everyone on and off the screen. While Blunt is the “straight man” of the duo, taking all of his sarcasm without batting an eye only to follow through on the most ridiculous of requests.
Don’t let the title fool you – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen will not bore you to tears, though some moments may cause your eyes to water from laughter.
Director: Lasse Hallström
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Amr Waked
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