Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: A visionary sheik believes his passion for the peaceful pastime of salmon fishing can enrich the lives of his people, and he dreams of bringing the sport to the not so fish-friendly desert. Willing to spare no expense, he instructs his representative to turn the dream into reality, an extraordinary feat that will require the involvement of Britain’s leading fisheries expert who happens to think the project both absurd and unachievable. That is, until the Prime Minister’s overzealous press secretary latches on to it as a ‘good will’ story. Now, this unlikely team will put it all on the line and embark on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible. (CBS Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Mar 9, 2012
    The crisply sweet banter and the halting intimacy that grows between two shy people with a common goal more than makes up for a wildly implausible plot.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 8, 2012
    This is a rich subject for satire and sticking it to political bureaucracy. Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours) has mined Paul Torday's book for delicious nuggets about Western capitalism at war with Muslim culture.
  3. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Mar 9, 2012
    These are characters with whom it's a pleasure to spend a couple of hours.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Mar 8, 2012
    The film's occasional toe-dips into real-world politics, sectarian conflict and the horrors of war are demure and unruffling. What's missing is a point of view beyond Hallstrom's interest in making his actors look as attractive as possible.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Mar 30, 2012
    It's an uplifting, even enchanting, smile-inducer.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 9, 2012
    It's a soggy farce that not even its top-notch cast can rescue – though not for want of trying.
  7. Reviewed by: Bill Weber
    Mar 9, 2012
    The ill use made of the stars' charms in this initially strained, then egregiously dopey mushfest can likely be credited to market-tested notions of modern popular romance.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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 Expand
  5. 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. Expand
  6. 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
  7. 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

See all 17 User Reviews


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