Lasse Hallstrom’s invigoratingly beautiful ode, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” could be the best movie of the year. Hey, I know we’re just three months in, but Ewan McGregor; Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas are stellar.
Based on a book (aren’t all these little movies always based on a book?), it concerns a filthy rich sheik from Yemen, who harbors a fascination with salmon fishing and wants to bring it to his fiefdom.
Metaphorically speaking, I get it: all quiet precision, if you will. He has hired investment banker Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Blunt), to find the leading researcher on fisheries. That would be Fred Jones (McGregor) a quirky British scientist. Subtly, she begins to woo him to join what seems like an impossible project.
At first he thinks the whole idea is crazy, but as he proposes grandiose ideas and even bigger sums of money to get it done, it all gets approved, and so we begin.
McGregor, whom I’ve liked in everything he’s done (and, he’s done a lot) is simply terrific here, coming on as strong as guns. But he withers beneath Blunt’s passion.
His character is in a lifeless marriage; Blunt’s character has a boyfriend who runs off to war. As the movie progresses, their paths intersect more and more.
Blunt is terrific here as well. Her pure beauty and talent radiates in every scene. With terrifically stunning photography (including many sweeping crane shots that work so well), director Hallstrom (“My Life As a Dog,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “Chocolat”) literally sweeps you away to another world.
One thing’s for sure, this is his best film ever, and that’s saying a lot. All of his films have become quirky classics.
Kristen Scott Thomas as the British PM’s pr-manager is so darn funny that, at times, you think she’s in a different movie. She ably ankles for yet another PR-op for her boss.
With a sailor’s mouth and three kids and a husband standing innocently by witnessing her machinactions, she’s stunningly terrific.
As the two main characters finally come together, Talbot’s boyfriend returns from his worn-torn tenure and immediately she must make a choice.
Amr Waked, as the sheik, is amazingly terrific. Full of wonder and amazing sensitivity, many think this picture is about the Mid-East politics–it’s not. Yet, it is.
This movie is the perfect antidote to get away from it all. Just as he did in “Beginners,” McGregor has nabbed himself another excellent movie. Do yourself a favor and see this. You cannot, not love this!
Check out the latest trailer below.