"Faith in Fishing"

Content: -3 Excessive content and/or worldview problems.

What You Need To Know:

SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN is a story of three people who bring salmon fishing to an unlikely place – the Yemen desert. To realize a rich sheikh’s dream, Harriet must convince British fishing expert Fred to find a way to make the desert hospitable for salmon fishing. They also have to transport 10,000 live British salmon to the desert. Representing the sheikh, Harriet has faith the project will be a complete success, but Fred is less enthusiastic. Together, they embark on a journey that creates romantic feelings between them. It also questions their country’s politics and forces them to redefine their understanding of Faith. Finally, there are subplots involving Harriet’s soldier boyfriend, Fred’s long-absent wife, and terrorists who don’t like the sheikh’s westernized ways.

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.


(HH, RoRoRo, FRFR, CapCap, E, PCPC, APAP, B, LLL, V, S, NN, A, D, MM) Strong humanist worldview, with very strong Romantic elements against the institution of marriage, which also depicts a man of humanist science coming to a newfound non-religious faith or belief system that acts outside of science and reason, plus some strong capitalist elements, light environmentalist ones, and strong politically correct, anti-patriotic sentiments, including ones regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but with some anti-terrorist sentiments; 16 obscenities, 17 profanities, and many uses of the term “bloody”; brief violence includes soldier’s neck twisted to kill him and attempted murder of “westernized” sheikh; light sexual content includes implied fornication, man decides not to go back to wife, and implied married sex; upper female nudity and upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, blackmail, disrespect, an unbiblical concept of faith and hope, dysfunctional marriage, and some Muslim portrayals.

More Detail:

SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN is a movie that pleasantly surprises with its humor, love story, and beautiful cinematography, but it has lots of foul language and an unacceptable worldview.

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.

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