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Fisherman’s Friends

By Alan Ng | July 22, 2020

Jim also has a daughter Alwyn (Tuppence Middleton), who catches Danny’s eye. She is the wise one of the bunch and sees what’s happening regarding Danny’s efforts. She also has a keen understanding of her father, Jim, and why he is hesitant to move forward. Of course, there’s an attraction between Danny and Alwyn…mostly with Danny. We know where this is heading.

There’s really only one reason to see Fisherman’s Friends, and it’s the singing. The feel-good story helps too. To me, I found the sea shanties to be memorizing, nostalgic,  and beautiful, but it’s the harmonies that will get you. It’s perfect if you just need a moment to relax and get your head out of the world. The acting is excellent and story-wise, does a good job pulling on our heartstrings, but we’ve seen it before.

“…one reason to see Fisherman’s Friends, it’s the singing. The feel-good story helps too.”

Here’s my issue with “inspired by true events” movies. There’s a sense that the actual true story was written out of the script in order to make a marketable Hollywood story. As the events of the story unfold, I find myself wondering what really happened and what didn’t. When the story on screen is littered with happy coincidences and standard comedic moments, its story beats and arc feel almost too perfect. Perfect rarely comes across as authentic.

Yes, I could do research and look up what’s real and what’s not, but honestly, that’s not my job—nor is it yours. We’re not a trained fact-checkers (I get this criticism a lot in the comments). But let’s assume that everything in the film is 100% true. It doesn’t feel genuine, nonetheless. The film’s overall tone comes across as a fantastical fable/satirical comedy. It’s not enough to say this is true, but it also has to feel true as well.

I recommend Fisherman’s Friends for its marvelous soundtrack, and it’s a feel-good story. Though I have issues with the “inspired by” events, I say this as a message to filmmakers tasked with future “inspired by” projects—be aware of how you present actual events. I realize that sometimes real life often doesn’t always make for a good, compelling story, but at least try to hide the made-up bits better.

Fisherman's Friends (2020)

Directed: Chris Foggin

Written: Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft

Starring: James Purefoy, David Hayman, Daniel Mays, Tuppence Middleton, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

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"…sometimes real life often doesn’t always make for a good, compelling story…"

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