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Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 54
  2. Negative: 4 out of 54

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  1. Mar 8, 2014
    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a mildly entertaining romantic comedy. Unfortunately, it's uniqueness is undercut by the heavy use of typical genre cliches and some eye-rolling plot contrivances. Meh.
  2. Jun 22, 2013
    A film that is and does exactly what it says on the tin, salmon fishing is indeed "theoretically possible" in the Yemen. A witty and culturally cumulative effort from Chocolat director Lasse Hallström has made this quite an enjoyable flick that it quite easy to like, save for its flaws and high note drama.
    Ewan McGregor plays Fred Jones, a fishery expert who is tasked with the damned near
    impossible, to somehow create a lake and transport ten thousand salmon to Yemen for a fly fishing hobbyist Sheik (Amr Waked).
    In the middle, and the basis of a blossoming relationship is Harriet, played by the talented Emily Blunt, who is financial advisor to the gentle hearted Sheik, a man who you just perceive to have a bigger wallet than brain, but so much more is at stake in his eyes, with a deeper meaning of the cultural significance of taking ten thousand Scottish fish and sticking them in the desert, but with a political agenda, especially when Government PR guru Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas) digs her claws in, and what a performance from this woman indeed, being the backbone for much of the comedy in the film.
    McGregor plays the awkward and often stuck in his ways Fred, while the Sheik calmly tries to pull him into the brighter horizon, he also tries to open his eyes to faith and believing in the almost impossible.
    The film its happy notes consecutively, reaching into your mind and conjuring happy feelings of exploration and not settling of the ordinary. The relationship between Fred and Harriet can feel a little glossed over and too quick to suit the needs of the film, especially with her dilemma of being unsure if her soldier boyfriend has been killed on a mission in Afghanistan. The wondrous and most fulfilling part of the film is perhaps the attitude of Sheik Muhammad, his analogies concerning faith and fishing are well written, as his much of the dialogue of the film with quirky and big-headed characters who often have ego clashes, much of this coming from Scott Thomas, who excels in her hysterical role, her brushed off insults and lack of cultural regard are genius, especially when she controls the screen in each of her scenes, with relative ease.
    The visuals are excellent, but thankfully these have been outdone by an excellent cast and a powerful script that never lets itself get too serious, because obviously with a far-fetched plot as the title suggests, its nice to see someone being up to the challenge of putting more in the film than originally meets the eye.
  3. May 16, 2013
    Enjoyable, well-acted, unique, and delightful. This unusual and apparently initially impossible plot line to introduce migrating salmon to the middle east is enriched by a very nice love story. It is more drama and romance than comedy, although several cute devices, mostly using texting onscreen attempt (with minor success) to add comedic elements. A fine, but not great film, it will please those looking for something new and out of the mainstream formula films churned out every day in the industry. Expand
  4. Dec 5, 2012
    Touching, light-hearted, sweet, and surprisingly effective. Blunt and McGregor are fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. A surprise gem that will entertain.
  5. Oct 6, 2012
    I appreciate the humour and light-hearted joking around which made the film pleasant to watch, not to mention the beautiful scenery, but I think the uneven pacing and lack of subtlety in the film (can be reflected on how the important issues of the day were portrayed - I'm not really a fan of 'in-your-face' politics and don't find obviousness a clever trait in films) made me feel distant, as was the decision to awkwardly mix the laughs and the emotional impact. The characters themselves were less flawed, although what they make up for in personality, their chemistry with each other seemed strained. Nonetheless, it was funny, Ewan McGregor providing the lead for great dry humour and was the strongest character in the film. Expand
  6. Sep 23, 2012
    It is an OK film to watch, more cute than funny, more Hollywood sparkles than the title might suggest, and less convincing than any of the previous works of either the director or the lead performers.
  7. Sep 17, 2012
    It's easy to like this one. Strongly driven by characters we can all relate, this is a romantic story that will easily stand the passage of time. It counterpoints the simplicities of mundane life with the often unattainable larger universal issues like faith.
    Ewan McGregor is brilliant and often times funny, hard not to like the guy. Emily Blunt does it up well as the silently suffering
    executive ready to come out of the shell and take a new route. And this is exactly the journey. Well sketched human characters looking to be challenged and growing up as they go along. The kind of thing we all oughta do but don't really commit to out here in the world beyond the screen.
    It is worth mentioning my favorite character was Kristin Scott Thomas'. She is the constant psyche amongst the ever evolving theatre of people. The comedy relief at every turn and the fortitude of a true human reference throughout. Or maybe I'm speaking from that little crush I always had on her.
  8. Aug 30, 2012
    The director of Chocolat, Lasse Hollstrom, and the writer of Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy have teamed up in Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (2012), a moving tale of hope and faith. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Dr. Fred Jones, a fisheries expert with the British government. He is recruited by Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (played by Emily Blunt) to develop a salmon fishing program in Yemen. She is doing so on behalf of a wealthy Yemeni sheikh (played by Amr Waked). Kristin Scott Thomas rounds out the cast as Patricia Maxwell, the press officer for the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

    McGregor's Dr. Jones is very serious about most things, especially fishing. He is married to an ambitious woman, but there are no sparks in the relationship. They are going through the motions of life: perfunctory sex, small-talk in passing, no real communication. He is reluctant to participate in the Yemen project, seeing it as "fundamentally unfeasible", but admits that it isn't "theoretically impossible".

    Blunt's Ms. Chetwode-Talbot is young and energetic. She begins a relationship with a British military officer (played by Tom Mison) when he is suddenly shipped out to Afghanistan. After hearing that he is MIA and possibly dead, she pours herself into the fishing project.

    Thomas' Maxwell is manipulative and, after a mosque is blown up, sees the fishing project as a "feel good" story and jumps on the chance to make the British government look better in the media.

    The sheikh and Jones have a common interest in fishing, and the sheikh helps Jones to see that fishing is a metaphor for hope, with hundreds of hours spent fishing in the hope of one big catch. The sheikh is a visionary with deep faith in his religion who refuses to admit the impossibility of bringing cold-water fish to the dry, hot desert of Yemen. His enthusiasm rubs off on Jones and, in the end, he discovers that even though he is a scientist, he can still believe in the possiblities in the world.

    The relationship at the center of the movie is between Dr. Jones and Ms. Chetwode-Talbot. At first, they find it difficult to connect, still addressing each other by their surnames. But when tragedy strikes, they find that there is more to the relationship. A warm friendship develops at first as he is married and she is grieving. There doesn't seem to be any hope of more of a future for the two, but then again, this is a movie about hope, isn't it?

    The film utilizes beautiful imagery of the fish to symbolize Jones' life. At first, we see that he is like a salmon, going along with the rest of the crowd running upstream. But from above, we see him turn in a crowd and go against it. It is this point that his character begins to grow and change. He realizes that he must make some tough decisions regarding his job and his marriage.

    The fishing scenes are magnificent as are the scenes of the desert in Yemen. The Yemeni people are beautiful and generous. Jones and Chetwode-Talbot change with every interaction. But it wouldn't be a good story without an antagonist, and this film has a few. Maxwell uses the fishing project and Chetwode-Talbot's relationship with a military officer to get a few good photo ops. Personally, I found her presence in the film to be irritating. The silliness of her character did not go with the depth of the rest of the story.

    The sheikh turns out to have a few enemies in his homeland who don't share the vision of salmon fishing. Their efforts to sabotage the program lend some tension to the story and have the characters asking themselves when it is appropriate to give up hope.

    Even though this film was not a blockbuster at the theater, I strongly recommend it. It offers up some laughs and a few tears and manages not to be too precious about it. You can get it on iTunes.

    You've been buzzed! Thanks for stopping by and come back often!
  9. Aug 29, 2012
    A quiet film beautifully photographed. Great performances by the three leads. It's easy and doesn't require Terence Malik type of thought provocation. It doesn't pretend to be anything that it isn't.
  10. Jul 3, 2012
    When i first heard of this movie I thought the concept was ridiculous, and it is. But the thing about this movie that makes it enjoyable is that they acknowledge and the premise is ridiculous. And half way through the movie I realized that you just have to give in and accept that what is happening can happen, like the movie say you need to have faith (which is the underlying theme though the whole movie). And once i realized that i was able to enjoy the movie. All that being said the movie is not perfect. A lot of the dialogue can be hit or miss, some times it can make you cringe or make you have a huge smile on your face. The same goes with the acting, especially Ewan McGregor who gives a somewhat bi-polar performance, he goes from being a very sensitive character to a totally anti-social one. The same goes fro Emily Blunt, I found it exceptionally hard to believe that she fell in love with someone after knowing them only for three weeks, but that might have been because they only have a couple of scenes before he leave for war. But for some reason this movie just works for me, maybe it was Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunts' chemistry or maybe it's because McGregor and Blunt are such beautiful people and I liked seeing them on screen. It is definitely an enjoyable feel-good movie, if you can give in to the premise. 7.5/10. Expand
  11. May 14, 2012
    Great story, followed by a very heart warming role of Euan Mcgregor which quickly connects with the audience. The story is original and does not seem to meet the conventional characteristics of a romantic comedy but that said does provide a good amount of laughter with its british humour. All in all a movie worth watching on Sunday afternoon.
  12. Apr 14, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is, on the surface, the story of bringing a visionary idea of a rich sheik, an avid salmon fisherman, to life via Investment Consultant, Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, played by Emily Blunt. That idea is to replicate the cold Northern European fishing environment in the dammed, desert conditions in the Yemen. While initially brushed off as lunacy by British proper, the opportunistic Kristin Scott-Thomas, the Prime Minister's Press Secretary Patricia Maxwell, uses the Anglo-Yemeni venture as a way to "wag the dog" in order to keep the British public away from the reality of the Afghan War. Enter Ewan McGregor's Dr. Alfred Jones, a British Fisheries expert whose natural tendency to maintain current thinking and ignore such insane ideas, but is forced to adhere to the Prime Minister's directive to make this project happen for PR's sake. The fast pace of the film keeps the British tone and humor very interesting and entertaining for the first half until all involved came to the realization that the project was worth pursuing. The second half of the film was a victim of its own setup as the story rides its elementarily presented symbolism as an almost-forced chemistry between Dr. Jones and Harriet blossoms into love for the sake of supporting the theme of the story. Dr. Jones (even his name is generic) is a status quo man with the comfortable life, generic marriage, boring sex life, cloudy communication, yet is working toward a good pension and a drama-free existence, reflected symbolically in the Koi pond in his back yard. Fat and happy fish content to live in their small pond never needing adventure or challenges as they have their comfortable owners to feed them generic white bread every day. Meanwhile, the challenge of the sheik's vision is equally reflected in the behavior of the very salmon he wants to bring to the Yemen. Challenging, full of hard work, demanding, seemingly impossible at times and, if successful, immensely rewarding. For the second half of the film, the viewer watches Dr. Jones fight his own instincts to be Koi-like, choosing to resign from his comfortable British job, fall in love with Harriet and discover his passion for making this visionary idea happen. His transformation mirrors the very project he leads, meant to impart that to achieve what brings us passion takes stepping out of our comfort zone, perhaps even doing and being more than we had ever been. Not everyone will understand, some may criticize, try to bring you down, etc., but passions, loves of such heights may not be understood by the everyday "Koi" in the world as they are content to do the safe things, the easy things, devoid of risk taking for their own passions and loves. In the end, Dr. Jones and Harriet choose to keep pursuing the road less traveled as their rewards are bringing the sheik's vision to life while following their hearts with each other. While the romantic chemistry seemed quick and, at times, a little unnatural, the story pointed to a somewhat depressing truth, even if the end was a happy one. The reality is, some people simply don't take chances, don't follow their hearts and choose the comfortable road in order to avoid the potential difficulties pursuing their loves. I couldn't help but personally relate to the film in this respect as I try every day to follow my heart, my dreams and take chances as often as possible. While not always successful, and as much hurt or pain those failures may cause me, I feel stronger in the end knowing my love, my heart and my passion were worth more than the risks. Sadly, I know those who do the opposite, choose the safe route and never pursue their hearts. As the sheik reiterated throughout Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, the strength and confidence in such seemingly impossible pursuits is our never-ending faith that they are worth it and will happen. Expand
  13. Apr 3, 2012
    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is smarter than your average rom-com, wittier, and has just enough to say to give it some substance. The story is really about the relationship between Jones and Talbot. But what their affair has emotionally, it lacks in physical spark and chemistry for all the fuss. Thus, there is a lot of talk about the fishing project, and a lot of talk about their feelings, making for a rom-com that's light on visuals, heavy on dialog. Full review on my blog. Expand
  14. Mar 23, 2012
    An Arab sheikh with more money than sense wants to import the sport and/or lifestyle of salmon fishing from cold and rainy Scotland to the barren desert of Yemen. In the meantime, the British government is floundering from scandal to scandal and greedily seizes upon the idea of a cultural rapprochement between the West and the Arab world through this fishing enterprise; it is even better that the sheik is willing to foot the entire bill. The messy details will be filled in by the Fisheries Department representative Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) and an investment rep for the sheikh, Ms. Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt).

    Naturally, Dr. Jones is incredulous that anyone would think it feasible to move 10,000 salmon from Scotland to Yemen and considers his assignment a foolâ
  15. Mar 9, 2012
    Enjoying a film like "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" is similar to acquiring a taste for actual fishing. Like the sport that some find invigorating while others find it dreadfully dull, this film has its draggy moments. However, there are also enlightening points to the movie that come when you least expect them. Ginq.Com

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Apr 19, 2012
    It feels as if you've seen it many times before. Bill Nighy isn't in it, for example, and yet afterwards I had an intense memory of Bill Nighy being in it, the way amputees can feel their toes itching.
  2. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    Apr 19, 2012
    Tamer than the book and not as funny, this is Salmon filleted. But McGregor and Blunt make fetching lovebirds, while Kristin Scott Thomas is off the scale in a rare comic outing.
  3. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    Apr 16, 2012
    As awkward as McGregor's geeky hero and almost as confused as the titular plan, Salmon Fishing is still very likable if you're prepared to take the bait. And it might even be Scott Thomas' funniest turn since "Four Weddings And A Funeral."