Seducing Dr Lewis

***1/2

Reviewed by: Andrea Mullaney

This charming French Canadian film is set in the tiny Quebecois island town of St. Marie-La-Mauderne which is clearly twinned with Cicely (setting of Northern Exposure), Tullymore (Waking Ned), Grady (Doc Hollywood) and Toddy (Whisky Galore). It's the tale of a depressed local community, nearly all reduced to living off welfare cheques after the collapse of the fishing industry, which is desperate for the jobs a proposed new factory could bring. There is one catch, however. The factory can only go ahead if there is a resident doctor on the island and they just can't persuade any to sign up.

Having managed to entice a city-slick hotshot to do a temporary month's stint on the isolated and, frankly, rundown island, the townsfolk, led by the desperate and resourceful mayor (stalwart veteran Raymond Bouchard), throw everything into an effort to make him fall in love with the place. His likes become law - he's a cricket fan, so the hockey loving locals attempt to convince him they're all avid followers of the sport. The restaurant struggles to fix his favourite meals. Money is left lying around in his path. Whether it's a drinking buddy, a fellow jazz fan or a surrogate father figure he's after, they're determined to fulfil all the bemused young chap's needs. To help figure out their strategy, they tap his phones and manipulate his life.

In the process, the previously dispirited locals become the kind of go-getting, enthusiastic and friendly community they're pretending to be, while Dr Lewis (David Boutin) finds peace and contentment in what he'd thought of as a provincial backwater. Yet, of course, at the heart of it is a lie. Or is it?

La Grande Seduction (homegrown title) is an entertaining family film with few pretensions, moments of broad comedy, strong performances, beautiful scenery and a sweetness of touch that makes it well worth a watch.

Reviewed on: 05 Jul 2006
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Seducing Dr Lewis packshot
French Canadian islanders manipulate the life of a city doctor in an attempt to make him stay.
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If you like this, try:

Camping
Waking Ned
Whisky Galore!