Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

The Yemen river is in the country of Yemen, which occupies the south-western corner of the Arabian Peninsula. As we know, that middle-eastern area is hot and dry. In this Lasse Hallstrom-directed dramedy, an oil-billionaire sheik from Yemen owns several estates in Scotland and has developed a fondness for fly fishing. He dreams of a way to bring the sport to his homeland and at the same time encourage his fellow coun- trymen to upgrade their way of life with an improved water supply.

We loved this cast (mostly) from the UK:
  • Emily Blunt ("The Devil Wears Prada") is the first person contacted by the sheik. Her job is to research the practicality of the idea and make a recommendation. To complicate matters, her fiancĂ© is soon reported missing in (military) action in Afghanistan.
  • Ewan McGregor ("Beginners") is a mid-level bureaucrat with a touch of Asperger's who loves fly fishing on weekends. When approached about the feasibility of this experiment, he makes outlandish demands, assuming that the cost will deter these foolish people. He is struck dumb when his demands are met, e.g., the engineers who designed the Three Gorges Dam in China.
  • Kristen Scott Thomas ("Nowhere Boy") is a blunt, plain-spoken government official who can see the public relations advantages for news from the Mid-east that doesn't include body bags or the escalating price of petrol. She is hilarious in this (initially) pre- posterous plot and provides many laugh-out-loud moments. You will LOVE her e-mails!
  • Amr Waked ("The Father and the Foreigner") is the fabulously wealthy sheik with the dream. It's obvious that he is intelligent and has already studied the situation. When our troubled heroine denies she is anxious, he says, "I have too many wives not to know when a woman is upset!" We can see why this actor is a heartthrob in his native Egypt.
  • Tom Mison ("One Day") is our heroine's fiancĂ©, loving, considerate AND handsome!
I haven't read Paul Torday's novel on which this film is based, but I know salmon are anadromous, so I immediately felt migration to salt water would be too hot and arduous, consequently I had reservations about feasibility. On the other hand, this film had far more comedy than we expected and was far more touching as well, so eventually it didn't matter. I even got goosebumps when that fish turned around and started upstream.

Nice surprise!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
For a link to a preview:
* * * * * * * * * * * *