Review: Fisherman’s Friends

Year: 2019
Runtime: 112 minutes
Director: Chris Foggin

Writers: Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft

Stars: Daniel Mays, James Purefoy, Tuppence Middleton

By Kate Boyle

Take any charming music film from the UK and blend it with an unconventional romantic comedy and that’s “Fisherman’s Friends”. It fits right in with films like “Once” (2007) and “Sing Street” (2016). “Fisherman’s Friends” tells the story of city boy, big shot music executive Danny (Daniel Mays) who is visiting a small village in Cornwall with his friends on his way to a wedding.

While checking out the adorable seaside village, he and his colleagues stumble upon a singing group comprised of fisherman performing old sea shanties. As a joke, Danny’s friends bet him he can’t convince the group to sign a record deal and Danny can’t turn down the opportunity to prove them wrong. The movie is loosely based on the story of how the real Fisherman’s Friend band was discovered.

“The movie was filmed in Cornwall and gives viewers an abundance of beautiful scenery to enjoy. There is nothing more charming or uplifting than a quaint costal village.”

Copyright: Samuel Goldwyn Films

The area this film most succeeds is with its characters. We see the growth in Danny, the bond between the multigenerational fisherman is heartwarming, and the sense of community in the small Cornish town will make viewers want to pack up and move there. Tuppence Middleton is also charming as vulnerable but strong single mom Alwyn. The fisherman are strong as a group but include multiple fun and quirky personalities. The stand outs are unofficial leader Jim (James Purefoy), the old and wise veteran Jago (David Hayman), and the youngster of the group Rowan (Sam Swainsbury).

Copyright: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Another area “Fisherman’s Friends” succeeds is with the music and its beautiful location. The cast does most of its own sining as far I could find and the shanties themselves are nostalgic and comforting. I don’t think many people, especially younger generations would seek out an album of traditional sea shanties, but once you start listening to them you can appreciate the sense of history and charm they have. The movie was filmed in Cornwall and gives viewers an abundance of beautiful scenery to enjoy. There is nothing more charming or uplifting than a quaint costal village.

“Be warned, watching this movie will make you want to run away to Cornwall with James Purefoy.”

Copyright: Samuel Goldwyn Films

There isn’t a lot of negative feedback to give about “Fisherman’s Friends”. It is, deep down, a romantic comedy but it doesn’t necessarily stick to the stereotypical format one would expect a romcom to take. It’s also a little predictable, but not enough so to be bothersome. There was also a small scandal when “Fisherman’s Friends” was first released due to including the only Black actor who appears in the film’s name (Noel Clarke) on the poster, but not including his picture on any marketing materials. Additionally when Clarke spoke out about this, none of his cast mates supported him.

2020 has not been the best year for many people around the world, so feel-good movies are just what we need to help pick us up when things feel grim. “Fisherman’s Friends” is exactly that- it’s not too serious, not depressing- it’s pure entertainment and heartfelt goodness while still maintaining to give us substance and quality we expect from a good film. Be warned, watching this movie will make you want to run away to Cornwall with James Purefoy. “Fisherman’s Friends” is available to purchase or rent on a variety of VOD platforms worldwide, I highly recommend you check it out.

“Fisherman’s Friends” is out now on Digital and Demand.

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