Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt generate terrific chemistry is this quirky romantic comedy from Lasse Hallström, based on the bestseller by Paul Torday. McGregor plays a fisheries scientist and avid angler who is confounded when Blunt’s character asks him to embark on what seems like a preposterous project: creating a salmon river in the sands of Yemen. A Yemeni sheik with a Scottish mansion and a passion for fly-fishing—played with tender charm by Amr Waked—is bankrolling the project. And the British PM’s press secretary (Kristin-Scott Thomas) is spinning the venture as an upbeat distraction from the horrors of war in Afghanistan. Her giddy, over-the-top caricature throws the tone of the film off—it’s as if she’s acting in a screwball comedy that’s torqued way higher than the rest of the film. But McGregor and Blunt are both a picture of droll restraint, as their shy romance comes to the surface. McGregor’s Scottish wit is as nuanced as single-malt scotch, the story has a sweet arc, and the landscapes are lovely. It’s no surprise Salmon Fishing in the Yemen has  emerged as one of TIFF’s big crowd-pleasers.

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