FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS gets 6/10 Cockle warming

Starring James Purefoy, David Hayman, Maggie Steed, Daniel Mays
Directed by Chris Foggin


Based on a true story of a group of Cornish fishermen who were signed by Universal Records and subsequently had a top 10 album of traditional sea shanties in 2010, Fisherman’s Friends is most certainly a film that will be described as heart-warming. Which indeed it is, but it is such an obvious tug on the heartstrings it’s distracting. Sadly, it misses the mark with a tone so beige it’s not so much disappointing as it is off-putting.

Horribly obnoxious record executive Danny (the talented Daniel Mays) falls for a prank while on a stag do in Cornwall, charged with signing the group by his boss, unaware it’s a tone deaf joke. He proceeds to try to win over the rough fishermen, while simultaneously trying to win the heart of local lass Tamsyn (Meadow Nobrega). Her father, Jim (the incomparable James Purefoy) of course tries to prevent the union and predictable shenanigans commence.

It’s a shallow trifle of a plot where there was so much more that could have been explored in stunning surrounds. Yet director Chris Foggin somehow chose the most mundane aspects of a beautiful piece of country and focuses on a sole house and the interior of a pub for his main locations. It’s a crying shame that a rarely documented piece of country is relegated to such a lack of vision.

Foggin gets lost in nautical nostalgia far too often to maintain headway, vacillating wildly between moments of beauty and eye-rolling twee. It follows a predictable route already well-worn by other Britcom forebears but nonetheless it is still a totally watchable, delightful romp.

The British Film Festival showcases some instant classics which are unmissable for Brit diehards, so check out the program and take the ride. It’s usually worth it between the uncanny English sense of humour and a plethora of amazing talent in their film industry.

Fisherman’s Friends is playing as part of the Mini British Film Festival 2019, from October 30 – November 24, at the Palace Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX, and the Windsor Cinema. Check website for details.


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