“The Grand Seduction” (2014). Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Gordon Pinsent, Liane Balaban, Mark Critch, Mary Walsh, Matt Watts, Anna Hopkins (voice). Director: Don McKellar. Screenplay: Michael Dowse and Ken Scott. Web site. Trailer.
Working together for the common good can be quite a challenge, especially when the deck seems stacked against us. However, with proper focus and intent, amazing results are possible as the residents of a small Canadian town find out for themselves in the delightful new comedy, “The Grand Seduction.”
The tiny port town of Tickle Head, Newfoundland is a shadow of its former self. With the collapse of the cod industry, the once-proud village of hard-working fishermen, regrettably, has been reduced to a community of aging, unemployed welfare recipients. The locals begrudgingly accept their monthly government support checks to sustain themselves, but they’d much rather be earning their keep if the opportunity were to present itself. They hold out hope that something good will happen, but it seems like the odds are perpetually stacked against them.
A glimmer of hope emerges, however, when the community learns it could be in line to become the site of a new petroleum product recycling plant. There’s just one catch – the town needs to find a full-time doctor before the plant’s owner will approve it as the location of the new facility. So, to fulfill that requirement, Tickle Head’s acting mayor, Murray French (Brendan Gleeson), undertakes the task of finding a physician who’s willing to make a home in the seaside hamlet. It’s a potentially tall order, but, thanks to a fortuitous twist of fate, Murray’s dream just might come true.
When Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) passes through the airport in nearby St. John’s, he’s caught trying to sneak through with a small quantity of an illegal substance. Despite his claims that it’s for medicinal purposes, airport officials don’t buy his story. As a consequence, he’s given an interesting choice – jail time or moving to Tickle Head to become the community’s physician on a 30-day trial basis (thanks to a former resident-turned-airport security screener). For the urbane, cosmopolitan doctor, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two options, but, considering the prospect of time behind bars, he reluctantly agrees to try life in Tickle Head.
Murray is thrilled at the news. He’s convinced that, if he and his fellow townsfolk can make life irresistible for the new arrival, they might be able to convince him to stay permanently. And, with a doctor in residence, the town would thus meet the requirement to qualify for the plant, a development that would mean jobs for all of the locals. Murray sincerely believes Tickle Head can win him over, but that may be easier said than done.
To sway the good doctor’s opinion, Murray enlists the assistance of fellow residents (Gordon Pinsent, Mark Critch, Matt Watts, Mary Walsh) to make Dr. Lewis feel at home. Using various investigative means (some of them less than scrupulous), the cunning townsfolk do all they can to find out what he likes, including his taste in food, music and entertainment. For instance, when the locals discover that Paul is a big fan of the sport of cricket, they form an impromptu league, despite knowing virtually nothing about how the game is played. Likewise, when Tickle Head’s only restaurant learns that Paul enjoys South Asian fare, the staff quickly adds it to the eatery’s menu of such staples as fish chowder and hot turkey sandwiches (a natural fit for its everyday cuisine, right?). But, despite the moderate success the locals attain with these gestures, the doctor still feels tied to his big city life. In fact, he looks forward to returning home and reuniting with his girlfriend (Anna Hopkins), whom he phones almost daily.
With the ante upped, Murray and company double their efforts to gain Paul’s confidence. But some of those measures are a little extreme and don’t always pan out as hoped for. For example, when Murray tries to coax the town’s beautiful young post mistress, Kathleen (Liane Balaban), into taking an interest in the new resident, she flatly refuses. And other efforts, like those aimed at intentionally tugging at Paul’s heart strings, often require Murray and others to jump through some pretty huge hoops. The biggest challenge, though, is how to keep their elaborate scheme from becoming exposed, something that could cause everything to fall apart.
As Paul’s 30 days draw to a close and the plant owner nears a decision about the location of the new facility, the pressure mounts. Will Murray’s “grand seduction” pay off? Or will everything come undone as it becomes increasingly difficult for the locals to keep a lid on their big secret? There’s a lot at stake – for everybody – but then that generally comes with the territory when conscious creation gets applied en masse.
Indeed, “The Grand Seduction” is an excellent example of conscious creation applied on a broad scale, something the philosophy’s practitioners refer to as a co-created “mass event.” As that concept is applied in this context, Tickle Head’s residents all work toward materializing a common goal, one for which they draw upon a concoction of beliefs aimed at fulfilling that objective. And, even though each participant in this scenario has his or her own individual role to play, they’re all nevertheless intent on attaining a mutually agreed-upon result. It’s an inspiring sight to see, too. Imagine what we might be able to accomplish if we were to employ our joint manifestation efforts as effectively as they do!
To make their plan happen, the locals need to tap into several key aspects of the conscious creation process. For instance, in addition to envisioning a common outcome, they must also be innovative in how they bring about that result. They must open themselves up to new probabilities, using novel tactics (and formulating appropriate beliefs to support them) to manifest the necessary conditions for achieving their desired outcome.
When it comes to winning over Paul, for example, the townsfolk must learn what it takes to get his attention and, in many cases, how to implement those measures. Such efforts often require them to become proficient at things about which they know virtually nothing, but those initiatives have the added benefit of uncovering personal capabilities not previously known (or perhaps even imagined). This enables significant spurts in personal growth, development and evolution, hallmark qualities of the conscious creation principle that we’re all in a constant state of becoming.
Moreover, the residents of Tickle Head must draw upon all of their personal conscious creation resources to make their plan work. To that end, they need to employ what’s known as “the magical approach” to this practice, an undertaking that requires the use of their intellect and intuition – and the integration of the impressions that come from each – to form the beliefs necessary for successful manifestation. Of particular importance are the insights that come from our external and internal powers of perception, for they frequently provide valuable input for the belief formation process.
Again, in winning over Paul, the townsfolk must use their abilities to manifest what pleases him, paying close attention to his likes and convincingly bringing those things into being (not always the easiest feat given their inherent unfamiliarity with many of his tastes). But, if Tickle Head’s residents hope to be successful, they must employ all of their metaphysical wherewithal to get those results. In particular, they must be so effective at what they’re doing that they can realize that outcome and get their target to believe in “authenticity” of their efforts. Indeed, if they can pull that off, then they must be doing something right.
As the story unfolds, it’s easy to see what roles Murray and his colleagues play in the creation of this mass event. But they’re not the only actors in this little drama. The scenario in question here also includes others, like Paul and Kathleen, who play very different parts. And, even though they’re participants in the larger creation, they each have their own individual contributions to make to it that are based on their particular considerations, especially with regard to the matter of life lessons.
Paul, for example, is primarily the object of the locals’ plan, and he plays his role well. But his participation in this scenario includes additional criteria that employ other manifestation beliefs that are purely his own, based on what he’s meant to get out of the situation. Most notably, these circumstances enable him to attract conditions conducive for learning about the power of discernment, a lesson that’s important to his life overall and not just this particular situation.
Kathleen, meanwhile, plays the role of teacher to her fellow townsfolk by instructing them on the value of being genuine. When she refuses Murray’s request to entice the affections of the good doctor, some of the locals might say that she’s not going along with the plan, that she’s not a team player. However, considering the “deception” inherent in Murray’s plan, it’s also apparent that he and his peers are not acting from the purest of intentions. And that’s where Kathleen steps in; her role is to teach those around her about the value of integrity, the quality most important to the successful realization of authentic results. While her contribution may frustrate her peers and make their desired outcome more difficult to achieve, her involvement nonetheless adds a significant element to the overall scenario at work here.
As diverse as all of these roles may seem, they are all still part of the larger whole, all integral to the creation of the collectively manifested mass event. Some of them may seem like they’re operating at cross-purposes, yet they’re all related and all necessary for the mass event to unfold. That’s what comes from connection, the quality that binds everything in the realm of creation, no matter how seemingly “unrelated” or contradictory its individual components may appear. It’s the glue that holds a scenario like this together and makes it a mass event to begin with. And, when all of the probable mass events out there are combined, we end up with what we know as the Universe, the consciously created construction that we and our divine collaborator continually create and re-create in every instant. The little drama playing out in Tickle Head may be just one of those probabilities, but it’s part of the overall greater chorus of creation, warts and all.
Largely based on the 2003 French Canadian film “Seducing Doctor Lewis” (“La grande séduction”), “The Grand Seduction” is a charming tale, full of good fun, gentle humor and delightful whimsy, somewhat reminiscent of the TV series Northern Exposure (1990-1995) and the film “Local Hero” (1983). The plot is patently absurd, so one must be willing to suspend belief when viewing it, but, for those capable of doing so, it’s thoroughly enjoyable. Its beautifully filmed location shots, lively soundtrack and ample laughs make this offering a fun time at the movies.
Fulfilling life’s grander aims often requires a collective effort, one in which we all work together with determination and integrity for the greater good. Staying on the path that takes us there can be fraught with challenges, but, when we have the perseverance to see things through, the results can truly astound us, as the residents of Tickle Head can attest. To be sure, the power of conscious creation can be quite seductive and, when employed properly, yields a truly gratifying sense of satisfaction – for everyone.
Copyright © 2014, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.