SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN
Faith in Fishing
Release Date: March 09, 2012
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 107 minutes
Distributor: CBS Films/Viacom
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Producer: Paul Webster
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman, Viacom
Leslie Moonves, CEO/President, CBS Corporation
Amy Baer, President/CEO, CBS Films
11800 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
A Western-minded sheik from the Yemen informs his representative Harriet that he wants to bring his favorite sport, salmon fishing, to his native Yemen. The problem is that the Yemen is a desert, so there’s no river for the salmon to run. Harriet, given unlimited resources to accomplish this feat, contacts Dr. Alfred “Fred” Jones (Ewan McGregor), a salmon fisherman who is Britain’s leading fisheries expert, to help.
As Fred and Harriet enter the Yemen, they watch a group of Muslim worshippers bowing and praying towards Mecca. Fred says to Harriet, “I don’t know anyone who goes to church anymore.” To which she replies, “No, neither do I.”
This moment, along with all the instances during the movie in which the sheikh tries bringing up the issues of faith and God or belief in something, portray an Anti-Christian worldview. The movie also suggests there is only one moral code and all the religions and churches of the world are merely different forms of that. By doing this, the film rejects the idea of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. It also encourages the notion that as long as people have faith in something, regardless of what that is or how they choose to worship, then that’s all that matters.
While Harriet tries to convince Fred about the project, the movie veers off into telling the story of Harriet’s boyfriend, Robert, a British Army captain. [SPOILERS FOLLOW] In focusing on his storyline, the movie presents the fear of war and the consequences of war from both the soldier’s viewpoint and his loved one’s back home. Before Robert is sent to Afghanistan, he says how scared he is. The movie magnifies this fear when he’s declared Missing in Action, and Harriet becomes a complete wreck. She stops going to work and stays in her house crying, hoping she will hear from the government that they’ve found Robert, even though everyone else in his platoon was pronounced dead. It is during this time that Fred visits Harriet to cheer her up. He also starts taking the salmon project more seriously, serving as a catalyst for the inevitable relationship to come when they work together in the romantic hills of Scotland and the dry Yemen desert.
SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN makes the relationship between Fred and Harriet possible with the dissolution of Fred’s marriage. Even though Fred’s long-absent wife sends him a text begging, “Please don’t leave me,” Fred says he can’t return to his marriage because he’s in love with Harriet, even if he has to let her go to be with Robert. Harriet, realizing she loves Fred after she tries to go back to England with Robert, decides to stay and be with Fred. In the end, they both stay in Yemen to rebuild the salmon fishing project and be together in love.
Although very humorous in the portrayal of political “fixer” Patricia (Kristin Scott Thomas), SALMON FISHING gives a light but vicious characterization of the British government as a “spin machine” willing to do whatever necessary when it would benefit them and spin anything to their advantage if it could make them look better on the future.
From here, the movie gets slightly political, criticizing the war in Afghanistan and branding politicians as mindless patsies. It suggests that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, or really any war supported by America and Britain, is full of propaganda. However, it also shows the misconception of the West by violent people in the Middle East and portrays a dark depiction of terrorists and those who oppose change or reform because Americans or British individuals or organizations are involved. It also shows the violence and extreme lengths that these terrorists are willing to achieve in order to kill or harm anything or anyone they deem too “Western.” With this content, comes some violence, killing, and betrayal that aren’t appropriate for younger audiences.
There are many times that “hope and faith” are mentioned in SALMON FISHING, but it’s not Christian hope or faith. Instead, it’s faith in man’s ability to come up with a solution and the belief in something is better than belief in nothing. SALMON FISHING also features sexual immorality a lot of casual profanity and swearing as well as a dysfunctional marriage that’s a red flag for most family moviegoers.
Ultimately, the movie misses an opportunity to show that “all things are possible through Christ.” In fact, it runs in the opposite direction. Thus, it seems to claim that all things are possible as long as Man has faith in the possibility. It gives the audience a sense that “karma,” perseverance, and belief in something is what matters.
All in all, the movie’s humanist worldview and acceptance of adultery make it inappropriate. The foul language and brief nudity add to the problem.
Although somewhat entertaining, SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN has some very questionable elements. First, it promotes a godless concept of faith and religion that attacks faith in Jesus Christ. Second, it portrays dysfunctional relationships – both in marriage and at work. Third, it has plenty of foul language. All of this, along with some politically correct messages, make SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN inappropriate viewing overall.