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VINE VOICEon 2 May 2012
"Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" is an entertaining ,original film about a Fisheries expert who gets involved in a bizarre plan to introduce salmon fishing into the desert land of Yemen at the whim of a rich Arab sheikh. Salmon fishing is his passion and he is prepared to spend millions to achieve his dream. Ewan McGregor plays the somewhat abrasive and unlikeable Fisheries man and he hooks up with Emily Blunt's investment house official and tries to put this unlikely scheme into effect. McGregor's marriage has hit a rocky patch while Blunt's boyfriend is in Afghanistan. Will the pair find love as they strive to introduce salmon into the Yemen ? The film is part comedy , mostly originating from Kirsten Scott Thomas's Prime Ministers Press Officer ,and part romance. Although I thought the film was a little overlong , I quite enjoyed it , mostly for its quirky and unusual storyline.
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on 27 May 2012
The beautifully written script elevates this fishy tale above the norm, and turns a unique storyline into something highly watchable. It somehow manages to combine inspiration, sentimentally and comedy - in equal measure - into the mix of this quirky little film, without any of those aspects being overdone. Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt give outstanding performances, whilst Kristen Scott-Thomas almost steals the show as the sharper-than-nails acerbic Prime Minister's Press Secretary, snapping and barking at everyone, with great comedic effect, in order to get the story she wants.

Whilst this was never going to be a box-office record breaker (and probably only really appeals to a small percentage of the population who like 'quirky', 'British' and 'gentle'), it is definitely one to be recommended. As unlikely as the subject appears to be, it somehow works. Probably because it doesn't try to be too clever, but, instead, shows up human frailties and injects that little bit of something we all need ... faith that it will all come right in the end.
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on 9 July 2012
The story is unusual to say the least. A hugely wealthy Sheikh from The Yemen makes enquiries via his British PA (Emily Blunt) as to whether he can pull off his vision for creating a salmon fishing lake in the middle of the dessert.

The Prime Minster's press officer (played superbly by Kristin Scott Thomas) gets wind of this and jumps on it to secure some feel-good news between Arab-UK relations instead of the endless war stories. Ewan McGregor plays a boring, unhappily married salmon expert (rather well I might add) and helps the Sheikh to make his vision a reality although he takes some persuading that it is even possible.

There is great humanity to this story. Everyone is on a personal journey as well and there are plenty of laughs and tears along the way as we embark upon this unlikely love story.

I love Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt anyway so this was always going to be a winner for me.

Great story, great acting, great scenery and goes to show what we can achieve if you have a little faith. Would definitely recommend if you're into all these things. I really enjoyed it.
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on 4 March 2013
How utterly boring does the title of this film seem? For me it brought thoughts of men in waders, drinking tea from a flask and eating meat paste sandwiches. Maybe it is because I was brought up no where near the sea and I haven't gone fishing in all my years on this earth but the thought of a film about fishing just seems like an instant low score. A great injustice the title does this film then, as after watching it, I can safely say that Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is easily one of my favourite films of 2012.

The story of this film is pretty much what it says on the tin, a very rich Sheikh loves salmon fishing and he wants salmon in the Yemen, something that is seemingly impossible. Again, I think this sounds like a snore fest, but you would be surprised how much story you can wrap around this original premise.

To my mind I can't think of a single character in this film that I didn't find completely likable. Ewan McGregor played one of the best parts I have ever seen him in, dropping his usual sexy charm for the wader-wearing-tea-drinking-meat-paste-sandwich-eating kind of person I was talking about in a previous paragraph. He is delightfully awkward and plays the old dog can't learn new tricks part so, so well. Of course his part would never be so endearing if the character didn't have layers, and McGregor hints at his immense dissatisfaction of his life without ever breaking his keep calm and carry on façade. To act with such a delicate touch shows such a mastery of his craft, and I'm sure credit is due to the director as well.

Emily Blunt brings plenty of electric to the production as a confident professional woman. In most things I have seen her in she seems to maintain an almost icy demeanour in her performances but with this part she is as warm and lovely as I have ever seen her.

Amr Waked plays the part of the Sheikh who is the instigator of the whole project within the film. He is wise to the point where you think he could give Yoda a run for his money. He sees fishing as something extremely spiritual and is convinced that bringing salmon fishing to the Yemen will bring nothing but prosperity to his people. You would be hard pushed to find a nicer, warmer and contented leader in the whole of the Middle East, and of course, he is completely likable.

My favourite character has to be the spin doctor played by Kristin Scott Thomas, her ruthlessness leads to some of the films biggest laughs. The character is as sharp and quick-witted with her staff and the Prime Minister as she is with her own kids. Even though she is meant to be the somewhat villain of the piece, she to, is completely charming in her own way and you never feel like you want her off of the screen.

The story takes us to the eclectic vistas of London, the Scottish highlands and, of course, Yemen. Each location is given oodles of love by the cinematographer, giving London it's metropolitan greyness, Scotland it's serine solitude and the Yemen it's exotic sun drenched heat.

The script is not a simple a to b either, thrown into the mix of the narrative are plot points that include broad humour, political satire, romance and even an assignation plot. The story really does take us on a journey both metaphorically and literally, allowing all the characters in the film to be deep, rich, warm and develop into different people by the end of the film.

If I was to make one criticism it would be that the romance aspect of the film does seem to be a little bit predictable and almost seems a little forced. To be honest though I can not think of a film in recent memory where the romance aspect of it wasn't predictable, can you?

This is a film that you expect to be boring, but it's not! If you are wondering whether you should watch this, the answer is and unequivocal yes! Absolutely! With a doubt! Highly recommended.
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Salmon fishing in the Yemen is a DVD which I would recommend to all as it is one of the funniest films which I have watched in a long time which did not depend on innuendos to bring on the canned laughter.
The main characters of the film were of course Fred Jones acted by Ewan McGregor a fisheries expert who is approached by Harriet acted by Emily Blunt with a plan to introduce salmon fishing to the desert covered Yemen to please her very rich employer Sheikh Muhammad (Amr Waked - Syriana). Harriet is his personal assistant and her character works brilliant with Fred Jones as her very glowing personality really seems to bounce of Fred Jones as he really is the most straight laced character who seems to come alive just being in the company of Harriet before meeting Harriet the only other living thing to bring happiness to Fred's face was being with his prized fish. As always Ewan McGregor's acting is first class and he gives a two dimensional character some soul, as I know through the film Asperger's was mentioned and it would really explain the personality of Fred. Like all romances there are problems along the way which come from very unsuspecting sources and some created by one of my favourite actresses Kristen Scott Thomas. Kristen Scott Thomas was the one character who always brought a smile to my face and she acts the very loud and sometimes very unlikeable Patricia Maxwell the Spin Doctor who controls her home as she does the government. This character could really make a story out of an ant hill but when she decides Afghanistan is getting too much bad press which was making the government look bad therefore this new venture of bringing fly fishing to the Yemen is the perfect story for the government to look good for a change. As I watched her trying to force the Prime Minister into fishing with the Sheikh while delivering her caustic thoughts on him and his associates were hilarious.
There is a serious tone to the film when the locals turn against the Sheikh because of his plans to change the land that they are proud off. The beautiful sceneries which were shown both in Scotland and the Yemen were a sight to behold which really added another dimension to this film which I thoroughly enjoyed and I certainly would recommend Salmon Fishing in the Yemen to most film watchers as there is something in it for everyone but what topped it for me was fantastic acting by brilliant actors along with a brilliant storyline just made a perfect film for me.
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on 25 May 2012
I watched this movie at the cinema. It was brilliant. Ewan McGregor plays his part superbly as the supposedly boring fish expert caught up in the absurdity of the project. Emily Blunt makes a tearful companion, and marvellous Kristin Scott Thomas could be any one of Britain's annoying politicians. I found tears rolling down my face, as unexpected little jewels of humanity, humour and passion caught me and the audience unaware.
While the ending was not quite how I remember from the book (the Prime Minister does not make an appearance), the scriptwriter (Simon Beaufoy) ensures the dupe is as plausible as Paul Torday's tale.

It is a shame authentic Yemeni landscapes could not be used. This imbalance can be redressed by checking out the pictorial Samak Fishing in Yemen, a dunderhead's guidebook of photos explaining why fish cannot be caught in Yemen. Also check out my Listomania: Yemen Favourites Top Ten.
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on 9 May 2012
An excellent and entertaining film (haven't read the book). Others might not like the feel-good nature of this story, but it feels like classic Lasse Hallstrom.
Pride and Prejudice - with fish!
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on 12 October 2014
SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN [2011] [Blu-ray] The British Comedy of the Year! Fantastic! Highly Enjoyable!

‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ stars Ewan McGregor as Fred Jones, a fisheries expert who is approached by Harriet [Emily Blunt] with a plan to introduce salmon into the waterways of Yemen. Despite Fred’s protests, he soon finds himself working on a project that seems not only frivolous but absolutely unfeasible in the arid land of Yemen. But as the mission begins, they soon find that hope can spring – even in the most unexpected places!

Written by OSCAR® winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy of ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ directed by Lasse Hallström ‘Chocolat’ and featuring hilarious performances from the stellar cast, ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ is an unmissable tale of overcoming the odds!

FILM FACT Part One: Awards and Nominations: 2012 European Film Awards: Nominated: People's Choice Award. 2012 Golden Globe® Awards: Nominated: Best Motion Picture for Comedy or Musical. Nominated: Best Actor for Comedy or Musical for McGregor. Nominated: Best Actress for Comedy or Musical for Blunt.

FILM FACT Part Two: ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ was shot on location in London, Scotland, and Morocco. Scenes set in Yemen were filmed in Ouarzazate in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. The restaurant scene in London was filmed at the Oxo Tower. The Sheikh's house in Scotland was filmed at Ardverikie House. Reshooting and water tank work was filmed at Black Hangar Studios in the UK. Principal photography started on 6 August 2011. Music for the film was composed and orchestrated by Dario Marianelli. The score features Leo Abrahams (Guitar), Dirk Campbell (Woodwind), Giles Lewin (Oud), and the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch. The original soundtrack album was released on 20 March 2012 by Lakeshore Records. The Scottish folksong "Mairi's Wedding" by The Clancy Brothers, which is played over one scene, and "Where You Go" by The Young Romans, the song played over the end credits, are not included on the album.

Cast: Amr Waked, Emily Blunt, Catherine Steadman, Tom Mison, Ewan McGregor, Rachael Stirling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Beard, Jill Baker, Conleth Hill, Alex Taylor-McDowall, Matilda White, Otto Farrant, Hamish Gray, Clive Wood, Nayef Rashed, Peter Wight, Waleed Akhtar, Steven Blake, Hugh Simon, James Cutting, Colin Kilkelly and Jorge Leon Martinez (uncredited)

Director: Lasse Hallström

Producers: Guy Avshalom, Jamie Laurenson, Nicky Kentish Barnes, Paul Webster, Paula Jalfon, Samuel Hadida, Stephen Garrett, Tori Parry, Victor Hadida, Zakaria Alaoui and Zygi Kamasa

Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy and Paul Torday (novel)

Composer: Dario Marianelli

Cinematography: Terry Stacey

Video Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English: 2.0 DTS-HD Audio Descriptions

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 106 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: LIONSGATE

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: In life, sometimes it's important to try new things, to grow as human beings, to attempt the impossible, to head upstream and swim against the current. You know, like a salmon. At least, that's what the characters in 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' learn, which is not so coincidentally, happens to feature lots and lots and lots of salmon. A charming, sweet little romantic comedy, the film is home to a wonderful cast and a fun, quirky script. While the plot does adhere to a few clichéd dramatic beats, the story's upbeat spirit and clever humour are irresistible and the journey proves to be heartfelt and entertaining.

Based on Paul Torday's novel of the same name, the film follows a Sheikh's efforts to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen and an area seemingly ill-suited for such a sport. Then we have Sheikh Muhammed's tenacious consultant, Harriet [Emily Blunt], is tasked with the impossible assignment, and soon reaches out to a fisheries expert, Dr. Fred Jones [Ewan McGregor]. At first baffled by the ridiculous notion, Jones declares the plan "fundamentally unfeasible" and wants nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, in search of a good PR opportunity, the Prime Minister's press secretary [Kristin Scott Thomas] latches onto the project, and pledges the British government's support, who I thought gave a brilliant performance, especially with her witty hilarious sarcastic comments and the best lines in the film. Now strong-armed into aiding their efforts, Jones slowly opens up to the idea. As the practical scientist begins to believe that the impossible might actually be possible, he simultaneously develops feelings for Harriet. Unfortunately, outside forces arise, not only threatening their budding relationship, but the project itself, potentially spelling doom for Dr. Fred Jones and the Sheikh Muhammed's elaborate dreams.

The script carries a fun, charming sense of humour, lifting us through a breezy, but thankfully not superficial adventure. Watching the leads attempt to achieve the impossible for the sheer thrill and magic of it all is fun and inspiring. Themes dealing with growth, spirituality, and faith are all touched upon, and the filmmakers' good-natured approach manages to be positive and uplifting without becoming saccharine or preachy. The salmon's impossible journey becomes a metaphor for Jones' own character arc, and both storylines end up fuelling most of the narrative's momentum. It might not be the deepest of allegories, but the simple parallel works very well, and the pragmatic man's potential transformation into a genuine dreamer is compelling and humorous.

Quick witted, fast-paced dialogue is prevalent throughout the runtime, and characters will often speak in cheeky formalities, displaying a very British sense of playful humour. As light-hearted as the picture can get, there is some genuine drama as well, and director Lasse Hallström does a great job of balancing the tone. Lasse Hallström also throws in a few fun visual touches every now and then you see the text from emails will appear on screen, for instance, but mostly offers a simple cinematic style that lets the whimsical story speak for itself.

Chemistry is paramount when it comes to films of this type, and Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt absolutely sparkle. Dr. Alfred Jones [Ewan McGregor] is a typical wet blanket scientist who is all business and totally out of touch with his emotions. Conversely, Emily Blunt's Harriet offers a warmer, more adventurous presence, and as soon as the characters meet, it's instantly clear that they've found their match. Both performers are incredibly likeable and their playful verbal sparring has a certain screwball charm that's infectious. Kristin Scott Thomas is also quite funny as the constantly scheming Patricia Maxwell, and Amr Waked lends Sheikh Muhammad a dignified air of wisdom and compassion.

'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' is a simple but irresistibly fanciful beautiful film. Its sweet story is bolstered by great performances from the entire cast, and Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt make for a lovely on-screen couple. As original and quirky as the script can be, beneath the plot's outward imagination is a very standard romantic dramedy narrative. Though a few beats are a slightly contrived and predictable, the director's heartfelt sincerity and the script's witty humour saves the film from becoming too formulaic. It has some flaws, but there's just something about the film's light-hearted spirit that manages to win you over in the end and it is a joyous wonderful experience, that makes you feel glad hearted as the film credits roll up the screen and I know people who do not usually get very emotional with films like this, will definitely have a few tears rolling down their cheeks, in watching something really magical and extra special.

Blu-ray Video Quality – The Blu-ray is provided with a fantastic pristine 1080p encoded image transfer in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Featuring a nice clean look and a few impressive shots peppered throughout, the film comes to Blu-ray with a handsome transfer free of any major issues. The print is in pristine condition, and a very light layer of unobtrusive grain is visible, giving the image a natural, filmic quality. Detail wavers a bit from scene to scene, with more dimly lit sequences carrying a comparatively soft look. Bright scenes, however, feature very nice clarity, revealing many sharp textures and fine details. Shots capturing the breath-taking Scottish Highlands and majestic Moroccan landscapes (substituting for Yemen) are particularly impressive, and offer a great sense of depth and pop. Colours are rich and nicely saturated, complementing the whimsical tone of the story without becoming unnatural. Contrast levels are high but avoid blooming, and while blacks are a little inconsistent, shadow detail remains solid. Free of any unnecessary digital manipulation or artefacts, the transfer remains authentic and very pleasing. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The audio is presented in an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track with optional English SDH subtitles. Though a bit front loaded, there are a few lively bursts that provide a decent sense of immersion during key moments. Dialogue is crisp, clear, and well prioritized throughout. The front soundstage has some solid separation and directionality with music and speech, but for the most part, discrete and disperse effects are minimal. Surrounds are fairly quiet during several stretches, but do perk up when appropriate with some ambient sounds like background traffic, rain, wind, or buzzing flies. These instances are quite subdued but do help to enhance the atmosphere and scope of the mix. Dynamic range is wide, providing a nice gamut of distortion free frequencies. The film's climax actually features some aggressive design work and there is even some solid bass activity and the mix is very solid.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Miracles Happen: The Making of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen [1080p] [13:07] Cast and crew, in this fairly basic overview piece, discuss the source novel, the story's qualities and themes, casting the lead roles, character traits and relationships, filming locales, preparing for and shooting the fishing scenes, natural challenges during the shoot that actually benefited the film, and the cast's satisfaction with the film and the filmmaking experience.

Special Feature: The Fishermen in the Middle East: Novelist Paul Torday [1080p] [3:14] A very brief interview with the source novel's author is included. Paul Torday discusses the book's path to the screen, but the piece is far too short to be of much interest.

Finally, ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ is a gentle, touching, soulful picture about accomplishing the impossible, about determination, courage, faith, friendship, love, and life. It's not so much about fishing as it faith, faith in oneself and in others, in the possibilities, in the potential to unite, to find goodness in success. It's nicely directed and very well acted. It's a light but purposeful outing, a picture that will leave audiences feeling good and believing in the power of man to come together in harmony, under a shared goal and the bond of friendship, never mind in the potential of cinema to tell well, worthy tales. LIONSGATE's Blu-ray release of ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ comes up a bit short in terms of extra content, but the Blu-ray disc features LIONSGATE typical high quality audio and video. ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ is a charming, well-made, and definitely must-see film; the Blu-ray does it justice totally. One bonus in getting the Region B/2 Blu-ray is the far superior Slip Cover Design cover, compared to the Region A/1 Blu-ray Cover Design. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on 20 July 2012
This film is so worth watching - acting / storyline / scenery / humour. Emily Blunt is good (as she always is) & this is one of the best performances I have seen ever from Ewan McGregor. His performance is really the thing that makes this such a great film. He starts as the nerdy 'boffin' in the Ministry, and discovers life & love. The plot is great & has a black humour to it about the world of politics and spin doctors that will make most people smile.
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Salmon fishing in the Yemen is one of those charming films that tells a story and entertains for a few hours and manages to walk the middle ground between being too deep and serious or too silly.

It tells the story of a fish specialist recruited by a rich Arab prince to introduce salmon fishing to the Yemen. It's not just so that the Prince can indulge in his favourite hobby however, he has a philanthropic vision for his people, and a fish farm is an integral part of that. Along the way our hero finds himself having to resolve some personal issues around the breakdown of his marriage and a new romance.

It's charming without being twee, it's thoughtful without being too deep. There is a touch of humour, some well drawn characters, an interesting story and a range of pretty good performances that make this film full of old fashioned charm and feel good factor. 4 stars.
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