One of my first puzzles on beginning Seducing Dr. Lewis was its location. Set in a small coastal fishing village, the place looked much like Battle Harbour, Labrador, where I have stayed and roamed with my cameras. The treeless tundra-like terrain and starkness of the tiny surrounding islands was remarkably similar. When the film was over, I searched the credits eagerly for the location. Harrington Harbour, Quebec. Close! Harrington Harbour is just below the Quebec/Labrador border and therefore down the coast from Battle Harbour. Now, of course, I want to visit Harrington Harbour. I’m reading up on in already. But I’ve digressed before even getting started.
There a movies that give you good laughs but nothing much to think about. This is okay. There are plenty that give you much to think about but no good laughs. Nothing is wrong with that either. But how delightful is a film that can artfully entertain and provoke contemplation as well. This film does that, at least for me. In that regard I’d compare it with “Local Hero” and “The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill.” Let me know if you agree.
The village that seduced Dr. Lewis had once been a hard-working place where fishing was good and the living was good. But fishing had declined and no one could make a living at it any more. So the people did the only thing they could–they signed up for public assistance. And now these folk who once were proud of themselves and their work became ashamed, and their village declined and began to look run-down. People sadly lined up at the post office to get their welfare checks, then lined up at the bank to cash them. They illustrate the fact that most welfare recipients do it out of necessity, not out of choice.
Then there was a glimmer of hope. A factory was looking to locate in the region and they could try to get it to come to their village. The catch, the mayor found, was that they must have a doctor.
The film shows their clumsy and often ridiculous efforts to transform themselves, or the appearance, at least, so that Dr. Lewis would agree to live with them and be their doctor. This included, for example, evesdropping on his phone conversations to gain intelligence about this likes and dislikes. In the end their pretensions and hypocricies were exposed, and they became ashamed about them. Then the welcome truth comes out. Dr. Lewis has fallen in love with this place and these people for what they really were, not for what they had pretended to be.
For those who need a happy ending, this one will do.
View the film trailer: