Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Canada, 2001. Big Pictures Entertainment, Pope Productions, Rare Productions Ltd.. Screenplay by Edward Riche, based on his novel. Cinematography by Jan Kiesser. Produced by Paul Pope, Janet York. Music by Jonathan Goldsmith. Production Design by Pam Hall. Costume Design by Jeanie Kimber. Film Editing by Jeff Warren.
With his estranged wife (Sheila McCarthy) far away and his business dwindling, William Hurt decides to sell his languishing Newfoundland restaurant until his buddy Andy Jones comes up with a brilliant plan: why not call into a radio show that caters to bird watchers and pretend to have seen a very rare species of duck that enthusiasts have been looking for? The plan works and soon their little town is overcrowded with birders, all of whom need a place to eat in between the hours spent on the rocky shores of Canada’s gorgeous east coast island looking for the star of their nature show. Meanwhile, Hurt becomes enamoured of Jones’s visiting sister-in-law (Molly Parker), who agrees to help serve people at the restaurant when the crowds get to be too much for one man to handle. Lovely photography and delightful characters, strong direction and a rich sense of humour make for a film treat; it never takes itself too seriously, but also isn’t light enough to be worthless fluff either. Even Hurt’s Newfie accent, which tends to be too Irish to be genuine, doesn’t get in the way of the fun.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2001