The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
Fisherman’s Friends came out in UK cinemas back in 2019, and I was bombarded with trailers for it that did little to interest me. However, in the year since, I’ve heard nothing but outright praise for the film, so when crpWrites asked me to review it ahead of its American VOD release, I was delighted.
Chris Foggin directs an ensemble cast in a film that not only captures the heart of the characters, but also the heart of Cornwall. The small village of Port Isaac is as much a character in the film as the cast, and Foggin makes sure to capture its charm. The film’s run time flies by with ease and never feels forced.
A London music exec ends up stranded in Port Isaac, Cornwall after a stag do prank leaves him trying to sign the local fisherman singing group. Whilst this is the basic premise of the film, and the one portrayed in the trailer, there is so much more to Fisherman’s Friends than this. It’s a heart-warming tale of friendship and community. So much and so little happens in the film, but I couldn’t not be charmed and was rooting for them throughout; cheering with their cheers, crying with their cries.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Danny, portrayed by Daniel Mays, is set up as our protagonist, but the film definitely belongs to the ensemble portraying the Fisherman’s Friends. The two standouts are father and son Jim (James Purefoy) and Jago (David Hayman), but the whole group is charming, endearing, and perfectly in sync. The characters in the film are an accurate and responsible portrayal of male friendship and male grief, one we see far too often in mainstream media.
The only quibble with the whole film was Noel Clarke’s character. Clarke is a wonderful actor, so why he was made to play his role of Troy like that of a pantomime villain, or to put on a questionable American accent, I don’t know. But don’t worry, it only makes you love the Cornish cast more.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
"Fisherman’s Friends has so much heart..."
The film captures the rugged beauty of the Cornish coast; its charms and dangers in equal measure. There’s a reason that the Cornish wish to be declared their own country, as there really is something special there that Foggin and his team have managed to put on screen for us.
Fisherman's Friends (2020) | VOD
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Music is so important in this film, and whilst at first it feels a bit twee, I promise you’ll be swept up in the performances throughout. I grew up listening to a lot of Irish folk music as a kid, thanks to my dad, and it’s hard to deny the charming and nostalgic quality of the sea shanties... even if they are singing about prostitutes.
For a film that could be silly or slapstick, Fisherman’s Friends has so much heart. The fact that it’s based on a true story only makes it that much more wonderful.