Seducing Dr. Lewis (7/10)

Copyright © 2004 by Tony Medley

The small fishing village of St. Marie-La-Mauderne is enduring hard times. For eight years the 120 residents have lived on welfare checks as the fishing dried up. Rescue is possible, however, as a company is considering building a factory there, but it won’t be built unless the town has a resident doctor.

Enter Dr. Christopher Lewis (David Boutin), who is blackmailed by the town’s former mayor, now a traffic cop in the city, into spending a month in St. Marie-La Mauderne. Alas, Dr. Lewis is a young, attractive doctor and the village is old, dirty, dowdy, and depressing. The buildings are all run down; the men all sport three day old beards; their clothes are dowdy; there’s only one attractive woman in town, and Dr. Lewis gets off on the wrong foot with her.

This is a wry comedy about the lengths to which the denizens of the village, led by Germain Lesage (Raymond Bouchard) go in order to seduce Dr. Lewis to stay, including playing cricket, a game of which none of them had ever heard, tapping his phone, and cooking Beef Strogonoff.

Some people don’t like subtitles, but this is a movie that seemed to me to be made better by the subtitles. I just couldn’t imagine watching this in English. It doesn’t seem possible that a film like this could have been made by an American film industry that could create something like Spiderman 2 and have it be a runaway hit, to boot. Unlike Spidey, this is an intelligent, script-driven (Ken Scott), well acted, well directed (Jean-Francois Pouliot) little story totally devoid of special effects. If you’re patient and in the mood, this is a succulent morsel. In French with subtitles.

July 17, 2004

The End