Thursday 17 October 2019

Film Review: Fisherman's Friends

Yo ho, the Mini British Film Festival is on the horizon once again. I previewed Fisherman's Friends, one of the films featured in this year's festival. 

A feel-good romp in the style of The Full Monty, Chris Foggin’s comedy drama Fisherman’s Friends sees a group of ten grizzly fishermen skyrocket to stardom and the top of the UK charts when their unique blend of stirring sea shanties and brusque banter wins over Universal Records producer Danny (Daniel Mays).

Set in the picturesque Cornish town of Port Isaac, this film is the cinematic equivalent of receiving a hug from a warm mug of hot chocolate. It’s comforting and cosy, like an album you’ve listened to umpteen times before that brings all these fond memories flooding back – it’s not daring or breaking new ground, but it’s no less satisfying when all is said and done.

Headed by Jim (James Purefoy), protective single father to Alwyn (Tuppence Middleton), the charming ensemble of affable fishermen bestows this film with a sense of camaraderie and community. 

The conflict in Foggin’s film stems from formulaic themes – the big city boy who underestimates the locals and finds himself out of his depth; the distrustful and humble rural folk who think the worst of unfamiliar and the unacquainted. 

Overcoming these squabbles forms the bulk of the plot in Fishermen’s Friends, with the push and pull of Danny, Jim, Alwyn and the apprehensive record label. 

Ultimately, the film covers familiar territory, colouring within the lines of a conventionally charming and unassuming British comedy. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Port Isaac and the surrounding Cornish countryside is so gorgeous either, with churning surf, rolling hills and tight, winding streets. 

The Verdict: 6.5/10

If you’re looking for a gentle pick-me-up, you could do a lot worse than this two-hour comforter. 

Fisherman’s Friends is screening at the 2019 Mini British Film Festival from 30 October and receives a wider release from 21 November.

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