SEDUCING DOCTOR LEWIS
The residents of the remote Canadian fishing village St Marie-La-Mauderne are a close-knit community struggling to survive. When local mayor Germain Lesage (Raymond Bouchard) was a lad, everyone was up before light to go fishing, and would not be home under after dark. But times have changed, and these days, the major activity is heading to the post office to collect their welfare cheque from Eve (Lucie Laurier). A new factory providing work is promised, but the villagers need to lure a doctor to take up residency on the island. The locals are desperate and devise a scheme to make visiting Dr Christopher Lewis (David Boutin) want to stay and become a local.
Review by Louise Keller:
If you enjoyed Waking Ned Devine, you'll enjoy Seducing Dr Lewis, a delightful film about honesty and dignity. Although shot in Quebec in French (with a dialect that is often too broad to follow), the film has all the sensitivities of a quirky British comedy. The joys of the film lie in the nuances of the idiosyncrasies of the villagers, and it takes no time at all for us to be a part of this small community struggling to maintain their pride.
I laughed aloud many times through this bittersweet comedy, making the emotional payoff all the more effective. When we first meet the rough, unshaven Germain, he is queuing up in a long line to collect not one, but two monthly welfare cheques. The irony of the monthly battle to cash both cheques at the bank with the mousy teller, who is terrified of being replaced by an automatic teller machine is evident, as we discover the second cheque belongs to a former resident, now deceased, but still on the government's list.
The story concentrates on Germain's attempts (with the assistance of the whole village) to make St Marie-La-Mauderne a kind of utopia to Doctor Lewis. Firstly, there are amusing circumstances which bring Doctor Lewis to the island in the first place, and everyone chips in with ideas of how to seduce the good doctor into staying. From their meticulous research, they discover he loves cricket, a sport no-one has the remotest idea about. Clothes are bleached, oars are chopped off to resemble cricket bats and rough lines are laid. What a sight to behold as Doctor Lewis approaches the island and sees what he believes is a cricket match in full progress.
Surreptitiously tapping the good doctor's phone, soon everyone knows everything there is to know about him, and his every wish becomes the mission for the locals. From creating his favourite foods, to catering for his emotional needs, the web is woven to snare the doctor. There are priceless moments, such as the doctor's elation (and subsequent confusion) when he discovers the fish he has been dreaming of catching, are frozen.
Beautifully cast, all the performances are wonderful; it is easy to be seduced.
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SEDUCING DOCTOR LEWIS (M)
Grande séduction, La
CAST: Raymond Bouchard, David Boutin, Benoît Brière, Bruno Blanchet, Pierre Collin, Lucie Laurier, Rita Lafontaine
PRODUCER: Roger Frappier, Luc Vandal
DIRECTOR: Jean-François Pouliot
SCRIPT: Ken Scott
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Allen Smith
EDITOR: Dominique Fortin
MUSIC: Jean-Marie Benoît
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Daniel Hamelin, Normand Sarazin
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Rialto
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 20, 2005
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
VIDEO RELEASE: December 1, 2005