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Film / The Grand Seduction

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The Grand Seduction is a 2013 Canadian film directed by Don McKeller based on a French-Canadian film, La Grande Séduction.

The town of Tickle Head, Newfoundland and Labrador was once a proud fishing community back in the days when cod fishing was a prosperous, booming industry. However, since the cod fish ran out, business in town has dried up. Nowadays, the townsfolk get all their money from welfare checks, and most of the young residents have left for work in St. John's across the bay.

However, not all hope is lost for the residents of Tickle Head. The mayor has been negotiating to have a petrochemical facility built in the town. However, one of the conditions is that the town needs a doctor, which they've been trying to obtain (unsuccessfully) for the past 8 years.

Lucky for them, they eventually find their doctor when Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) is detained at the airport after cocaine is found in his luggage. The agent, the former mayor of Tickle Head, agrees to overlook this discovery if Paul will live in Tickle Head for one month.


From there, Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) convinces the rest of the townsfolk to try to "seduce" Paul into wanting to stay in Tickle Head, permanently, thus ensuring that the town gets the facility. With that plan in mind, the townsfolk go along with his plan to make Tickle Head Dr. Lewis' kind of town.

The Grand Seduction contains examples of:

  • Agony of the Feet: Frank has a case of Athlete's Foot that's been creeping up to become "Athlete's Leg" because he hasn't been able to see a doctor in a long while.
  • Berserk Button: Henry doesn't like it when people tell him his job could be handled by an ATM. It sets him off enough to approve a huge loan that gets him fired.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: The oil executive asks that Tickle Head put up a financial "surety" in order to seal the deal on the town getting a new petrochemical facility built in town. Murray quickly realizes that the man is actually asking for a bribe.
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  • Bookends: The film begins and ends with a shot of the people of Tickle Head "celebrating" the town's prosperity, with a puff of smoke rising from the chimneys afterwards.
  • Canada, Eh?: The film is set in Newfoundland & Labrador and pokes gentle fun at stereotypes of the Canadian Maritimes.
  • Dying Town: Tickle Head, since the fish supply ran out. Getting a petro facility built there could turn that around for them.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Murray's efforts work out in the end. Henry approves a loan to get the oil executive his desired bribe while Paul decides to stay in Tickle Head and be the town's doctor, thus ensuring Tickle Head gets the facility. Once it does, the town starts getting real money in, returning a sense of pride to the folks there.
  • Insurance Fraud: At the beginning of the film, Murray uses a blatantly false power of attorney (from a dead man, no less) to claim a second welfare check for himself.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings:
    • Murray's prologue shows that he came from a large and happy family.
    • One of the many patients Paul gets soon after coming to Tickle Head is a woman with multiple children. She lists the kids' various medical problems, then states she thinks she needs birth control.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Symbolized with puffs of smoke rising from the chimneys of the houses.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Murray begins the film believing that men should be providers, and is ashamed of himself when Barbara leaves Tickle Head to find work.
  • Truth in Television: The collapse of the cod fishery from overfishing ravaged fishing communities up and down the Atlantic coast, and few have been able to recover fully in the decades since.