“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.