Fisherman’s Friends

Okay, so I need to start by saying I’m about to discuss a film, not the famous cold cure lozenges, made up of liquorice, menthol and eucalyptus oil, and connected with a selection of risque jokes and puns.

The film, in case you’ve missed the publicity, was released in March. I missed it then, but there’s a lovely independent cinema just down the road, who cater for slow-off-the-mark viewers like me, and last week they put on two more showings. So mum and I finally caught up.

I hadn’t read any reviews, but I’d seen a trailer. It promised humour, sea, romance, broken promises and an underdog. The setting was Cornwall. I love Cornwall; listening to people harmonising, and rags to riches story-lines. Besides, there were some good actors in it.

Photo by Theroadislong –

I didn’t know anything about the Port Isaac singers. Every six months or so I re-tune my car radio and catch up on what’s happening with music. The Cornish choir must have happened while I was in a drama and current affairs mode. I’m catching up fast now, though, thanks to You Tube.

‘What I don’t understand,‘ says Jim, the leader of the group, ‘is why anyone would buy a record sung by ten hairy-arsed fishermen.’ Long before the end of the film, we’ve worked it out, and so have they.

This isn’t a tough film. There’s no blood, or car chases. It has highs, lows, lulls and squalls, but the plot isn’t twisty or challenging.

There were about forty of us in the audience. Most of us lingered to watch the end credits, and enjoy the singing, rather than rush for the exit. I think we were all grinning as we left the building.

I don’t want to call it a ‘warm’ film, because that suggests flimsy, but I’m finding it tricky to sum it up with another word. There were clear themes, particularly about community and values. But I think also, although none of us burst into song, by the end, I felt that I too had been part of something.

There is a scene, set in a pub in London, where the ‘ten hairy-arsed fishermen‘ demonstrate what a sea-shanty is. I’ve been humming Drunken Sailor ever since.

Photo by Rarb

21 thoughts on “Fisherman’s Friends

  1. Sounds like one I could watch with my dad! We always come to films a little late. It’s my habit to stay for the credits too. I need that transition before rejoining the outside world and also just like to read who did what to make the film what it is – as well as listen to the closing music. Thanks, Cath.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Neil. It is a very regional film, maybe too ‘local’ to appeal to an American market? – and not as much Cornish scenery as I expected. Hope you’re having a lovely day too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s one on my list. But my list is twenty years long. Thanks for reminding me that life exists outside of writing and reading. I, too, will check Netflix.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too, Darlene. Much as I enjoy being surprised, or sitting on the edge of my seat, there are times when I just want to leave the cinema feeling like life is wonderful – as James Stewart makes me, most Christmases.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d forgotten this group came from Port Isaac but I’d remembered a feature film was being made based on them. Worth recording if it’s ever on terrestrial tv, I think!

    I shall always associate Port Isaac with a memorable holiday when our oldest two kids were little, and with our son who’s even now with a film crew there filming the next Doc Martin series, the third series for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny thing, it wasn’t until after we’d seen the film that I realised Port Isaac was the Doc Martin ‘home’. It looks so much smaller on the film than it seems in the series – to me anyway. Just goes to show how manipulable pov is. – or should I say point-of-camera?

      Sounds like your son has an interesting career – well done him. It’s not easy to break into that business, is it?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I hang my head in shame because I have yet to see this film and yet to go and watch them sing on the quay. (They regularly give free concerts for charity on the slip at Port Isaac.) I followed the making of the film avidly, watched the trailers… I was about to add that I’ve probably missed the boat at the cinema now but thought I’d just checked first – it’s being shown in my local town (Looe) on 7th Sept! Not a cinema but possibly better 🙂 And while I wait I’ll do my utmost to get across to Port Isaac. They have two dates there this month. Thanks for the reminder, Cath!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad to be of use, Sandra. I hope you’ll be posting a review on this. What a great plan. I wonder if it’s a film that will be popular in Cornwall for a while, yet, in tourist season…

      Liked by 2 people

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