By Andrea Karen Hammer
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, based on the book by Paul Torday, is a brilliantly conceived and executed movie with great appeal for cross-cultural environmentalists.
Lasse Hallstrom, the director of Chocolat, creates another visually riveting and enriching experience. Throughout the film, stunning closeups of fish swimming in the water, with viewpoints from their perspective, mesmerize viewers. In remarkable mirror-image scenes, overhead shots of crowds of people are presented as schools of fish–with some similarly moving in an opposite direction to swim upstream.
Sheikh With Humanity and Spirituality Addresses Questions of Faith
As the visionary sheikh attempting to transform the dessert with newly created dams filled with imported fish, Amr Waked imbues his character with humanity and spirituality. During a fascinating discussion with one of Britain’s leading fisheries experts Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor), Amr Waked‘s character raises important questions about their seemingly different but ultimately similar levels of faith. In knee-high water and scenes filmed exquisitely to capture expansive views, the men bond more deeply while fishing and Dr. Alfred Jones literally saves the sheikh’s life twice.
Smart and Snappy Dialogue Segues Into Growing Personal Feelings
Ewan McGregor‘s portrayal of Fred is smart and snappy. From objections during his first scientifically focused meetings with the sheikh’s representative Harriet (Emily Blunt) to their more intimate scenes later in the film, Ewan McGregor openly reveals Fred’s recognition of feeling “stuck” for years as his feelings for Harriet grow.
Although some find this romantic match surprising, others think that Emily Blunt provides a good contrast–and complement–to the actor. She hits the mark during rapid verbal exchanges, with humorous tongue-in-cheek undertones resulting in the film’s label as a romantic comedy. Later, when Harriet faces a major crisis and life decision about her missing-in-action but suddenly returned boyfriend Robert (Tom Mison), Emily Blunt sheds her character’s professional facade to reveal the vulnerable side of this woman.
Humorous and Irritating Stereotype of Press Secretary Hatching Photo Ops
In a departure from many other roles, Kristin Scott Thomas earns interest as Patricia Maxwell, the plotting press secretary of the British prime minister. Constantly fielding text messages and hatching often troubling photo ops, Kristin Scott Thomas informs this role with humor while evoking a level of irritation with this stereotype.
Message About Faith in the Possible Relevant for Our Current Challenges
Billed as an “upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible,” Salmon Fishing in the Yemen offers important reminders, which remain relevant during our current challenges.