SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN REVIEW (GRADE: A-)
By Jonathan Decker
This delightful little romantic dramedy came and went last year without much fanfare, but it's well worth discovering now that you can watch it at home. The story finds a fishing expert (Ewan McGregor) and a consultant (Emily Blunt) teaming up to realize a sheik’s vision of bringing salmon fishing to the harsh desert climate of the Middle East, hoping that it will fortify his nation's relationship with the West as well as provide water to jump-start agriculture in his area. Despite political and relational obstacles, the two develop feelings for each other while learning valuable lessons about faith and intercultural friendship.
Light and breezy, uplifting and charming, the film boasts marvelously understated performances by McGregor and Blunt, as well as Kristin Scott Thomas as a political spin doctor and Amr Waked as the sheik. The humor hits its mark, as do timeless messages about appreciating those who are different from us, working hard to accomplish our goals, and allowing love to blossom slowly over time. It's well-made, but in a way that doesn't draw attention to itself (the emphasis is on story and characters). Audiences should be mindful, however: there is some adult content that, while not arousing or gratuitous, makes the film only for adults and older teens (to whom the story is most likely to appeal anyway).
CONTENT OVERVIEW: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is rated PG-13. A Muslim extremist attempts to assassinate a sheik who is friendly to Westerners and Christians. A man and woman kiss passionately against a wall and talk about going to bed together. They fall to the floor (out of frame) and the scene ends. A husband is shown on top of his wife at the very end of lovemaking; both are clothed and she is disinterested (the scene is meant to portray the dying state of their marriage, but his humorous moans may disturb some). A man and woman lie in bed together; she asks if it’s alright if they don’t make love and the man agrees to just hold her. There’s a quick photo of female singers in sports bras and “hot pants” (played for laughs). There is one f-word and a handful of moderate profanities.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: Love based solely on convenience or passionate feelings is not as likely to last as love based on friendship, trust, service, compassion, and being able to work together. One must believe that something is possible if one is to achieve it. It is the simple things in life that can make the largest impact.
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.