Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)

“Uplifting Story But Slightly Unconvincing Character Relationships” 8/10


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen tells the uplifting story of fisheries expert Dr Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) who is approached by consultant Harriet (Emily Blunt) who persuades him to work on a project for a sheik (Amr Waked) who wants to introduce salmon fishing to the Yemen.  Initially the project seems impossible but over time Alfred and Harriet find themselves on a journey, taking a leap of faith to make it possible.


The story itself is humble and touching, uniting the two main characters (McGregor and Blunt) who find themselves a little lost in life, and reminds them that with a little faith, anything is possible – a message that features strongly throughout.  Despite its moralistic teachings, it manages to be surprisingly funny at the same time, mostly coming from Kristen Scott Thomas playing a no-nonsense government official.  Ewan McGregor really shone in this film, bringing his character’s flaws to the screen in a sweetly awkward fashion that was also bursting with relatability and honesty.  Emily Blunt offers a more easy-going and self-assured role, although there are moments of well-placed vulnerability too.  Despite these two strong performances I felt that sadly there wasn’t much chemistry between the characters, something about it didn’t have me convinced.  Perhaps it was the uncertain, tenuous relationships that they had with their partners (played by Rachael Stirling and Tom Mision respectively) that made it all seem so awkward and slightly forced.  Thankfully this doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the story too much.  The setting is beautiful, some fantastic Scottish landscapes (something I really need to see more of having lived here most of my life) and from the Yemen too.


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is an uplifting and inspiring story that offers a touching reminder that anything is possible with just a little faith, something that few films provide.  For me, I felt that the strong characters were tarnished just a little by their less-than-convincing interactions.  Despite this, it’s still and enjoyably sweet feel-good film, definitely worth a watch.


2 thoughts on “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)

  1. One of the best things about your blog Claire, is how you review so many films that I would never consider watching, and make me want to see them.
    On this occasion, you have taken a film I never wanted to see, and sort-of confirmed why I will never watch it. So, thanks for that, in a kind of reverse compliment.
    I have seen most of that Scottish scenery already, and I lived in London at the time. Mind you, I had friends in Fort William, and in-laws (then) in Broughty Ferry, so I had a good excuse to be up there.
    Best wishes as always from Norfolk. Pete.

    • Thanks Pete! I’m glad I’ve managed to confirm your doubts so you know to steer clear. It was a fairly good film but I got frustrated with the characters and I think that’s something that can’t be overlooked. I’ve been to many places up here such as Broughty Ferry and up into the Highlands but have yet to venture to the north-west and the islands. Best wishes!

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