FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS – Review by Susan Granger

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If you enjoyed The Full Monty and Calendar Girls and you’re looking for a charming, uplifting, British romantic comedy with a surprising emotional wallop, find Fisherman’s Friends on VOD..

Inspired by a true story, it begins with four London music biz executives on a weekend stag getaway in the bucolic village of Port Isaac in Cornwall. When they hear a hearty group of local fishermen sing a cappella sea shanties on the waterfront, Danny (Daniel Mays) is immediately entranced.

As a cruel prank, his cynical friends convince him that he should sign them to a recording contract. But the skeptical Cornishmen don’t take him seriously. Since they value friendship and community above all, their spokesman Jim (James Purefoy) dismisses Danny’s offer, saying, “We have no need to sell our souls for fifteen minutes of fame.”

But Danny is persistent, particularly since he’s attracted to Jim’s daughter Alwyn (Tuppence Middleton), who runs the B&B and is the single mother of young Tamsin (Meadow Nobrega).

When Danny finally convinces the reluctant fishermen, his friends can’t believe he fell for the joke: “Do you really think we’d sign a buoy band with the combined age of 643?”

Nevertheless, Danny persists, convinced, “In a world saturated with manufactured pop bands, the fishermen are a real catch!”

The rest is music history. After signing with Island Records, the Fishermen’s debut became the biggest selling traditional folk album of all time. The weaknesses of the film lie with writers Nick Moorcroft and Meg Leonard, who don’t give director Chris Foggin a full roster of clearly delineated characters and succumb to a formulaic, underdog structure.

Fortunately, all members of the original band have cameos and are serve as consultants. Now, almost 30 years later, the Fisherman’s Friends still sing at the Golden Lion pub on the “platt” (harbor) in Port Isaac during the summer months.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Fisherman’s Friends” is a salty 7, a gentle gem that’s filled with engaging sea shanties.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.