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FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: A Comedy Drama That May Become The Ultimate British Feel-Good Movie.

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS - Film Review 2019

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS is a comedy drama that may become the ultimate British feel-good movie

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS is a comedy drama that may become the ultimate British feel-good movie – The Full Monty, but with songs, sea and sou’westers. Based on a slightly fictionalised version of real events, it’s set in Port Isaac on the beautiful north Cornish coast and has stunning views of harbour and sea. Renamed as Portwenn, the small working fishing port can also be seen on ITV as the location for the Doc Martin series.

A group of singing fishermen from Port Isaac – the FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS – have a reputation locally for their rousing renditions of traditional songs and shanties. When a group of trendy record company executives arrive from London for a stag weekend, the fishermen’s lives are suddenly changed.

As a joke, brash boss Troy (Noel Clarke with a strange American accent) orders unwitting Danny (Daniel Mays) to get the group a recording deal with a major label or lose his job. Not realising he’s been had, Danny perseveres, first to overcome the men’s disbelief, then their hostility – and finally the incredulity of record companies. Progress is slow, so he stays on in Port Isaac to do a deal with the group after his colleagues return to London.

Then Port Isaac weaves its magic on the fish-out-of-water outsider. Danny falls in love with lovely, sweet-natured single-mother Alwyn (Tuppence Middleton), who just happens also to be the daughter of the fisherman most opposed to a record deal (James Purefoy). Danny makes it his mission to get that record deal.

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS is a comedy drama that may become the ultimate British feel-good movie

Just climb aboard, enjoy and think about booking your next summer holiday.

As Danny slowly earns acceptance by the community, thanks in part to help from Alwyn, he learns the importance of the history and traditions that bind its members closely together. When something he has done unthinkingly could threaten the community that he has come to love, he tries to put things right. He has learnt a new respect for the people he was, basically, hoping to exploit.

The FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS group’s evocative, catchy, full-throated singing is rollicking enough to shake the rafters, whether they’re performing in Cornwall, snooty offices in London or in Shoreditch pubs, where even the hipsters join in. The fishermen are a close-knit, rough-hewn crew including, among others Dave Johns (I, Daniel Blake). Daniel May is surprisingly convincing in his central role and his unassuming charm holds the whole thing together. All the performances are excellent, though the screenplay, by Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft, dealing with so many ensemble characters only really allows them to be rather one-dimensional.

It’s a feel-good fairy tale, well made and nicely judged by director Chris Foggin (Effie Grey), though like many British films, it touts a slightly rose-tinted, cartoonish version of real life, but pride in Cornish culture comes across well. With the benefit of hindsight, we know it all ends happily for the launch of the Fisherman’s Friends’ singing career (despite a real-life tragedy later on that has no place in a film like this), FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS has heart-warming personal resolution too for any character who can embrace the values of the Port Isaac community. 

Just climb aboard, enjoy and think about booking your next summer holiday.

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS is in UK Cinemas from 15th march 2019.

www.fishermansfriendsfilm.co.uk/

Alexa Dalby

alexa_dalby@yahoo.com



 

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