FISHERMAN'S FRIENDS

★★★

A GREAT CATCH FOR A FILM ABOUT FRIENDSHIP AND MUSIC

BRITISH FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
By Lily Meek
21st November 2019

Let it be known that I am the queen of British feelgood movies. Give me old people, fishing, and some shanty tunes any day, and I am down for it. This comes with the disclaimer - that this accounts for any grade of movie. So, if you're out there telling me 'Love Actually' is too overrated, 'Calendar Girls' is too basic or have anything against movies like 'What We Did On Our Holiday', 'Finding Your Feet', 'Blinded By The Light', 'The Full Monty' and any other fantastic stories - leave now and never return.

The heart of filmmaking demands that stories be entertaining, and audiences captured, and at the core of all movies comes the foundation of excellent, palpable storytelling. 'Fisherman's Friends' follows the true story of a group of elderly fishermen, whom on their trips out to fish would sing traditional sea shanty songs. The ten men grew up together and learned to sing in the local church. Upon discovering them, record manager Danny (Daniel Mays, 'The Adventures of Tintin', 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story') takes a chance on getting them a record deal. And so sparks a charming story about friendship, honesty, loyalty, music and fun.

'FISHERMAN'S FRIENDS' TRAILER

Two key performances that stand out are Jago (David Hayman, 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,' 'Finding Your Feet,' 'Blinded by the Light') and Jim (James Purefoy, 'A Knight's Tale,' TV's 'The Following'). Both men have golden moments within this film. Hayman exudes charm and leaves you in want of more throughout, while Purefoy is honest in his performance and is emotionally poignant in the moments where it truly counts.

The film comes with hiccups - in some areas, it's a little clunky and the writing doesn't quite hit. And yes, poetic licence does make the story a little interesting at times. This is where we need to lend this film grace. Sometimes critics get too caught up in finding filmic masterpieces. We want the amazing spectacle, with confronting drama and a message that underpins a current issue in society. But whatever happened to good ol' escapism - feelgood movies that warm the heart and end the day well? These films are mandatory for human existence. I know, way to get super philosophical there, but it's true. We need examples of how great life is, that dreams do come true, and sometimes be reminded of people and experiences that exist outside of our own life circle.

Watching this movie was a much-needed break from the mundane, and it definitely put a smile on my face after a busy day at work.

At the end of the day, if it's been a long week and you're feeling low, exhausted and maybe even burned out, a film about a group of unlikely elderly men winning big by doing what they love with the ones they love is exactly what you need. It's a great story, and it needed to be told. I'm thrilled someone introduced me to such wonderful, joyous characters and reminded me that miracles do happen to good people and all in good time. Watching this movie was a much-needed break from the mundane, and it definitely put a smile on my face after a busy day at work.

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