Our film opens with a bunch of London music executives visiting the town of Port Issac for a stag party. These city slickers descend on the local pub where the ‘Fisherman's Friend' group are enjoying a pint before their weekly folk song recital.
The fishermen are a popular attraction with tourists who flock to the small fishing town each summer. One of the music executives jokingly invites his colleague to sign the band and turn the ageing fishermen into the next big pop sensation. Thus the premise of the film is set, and of course, we have the obligatory love interest too.
While ‘Fisherman's Friend' doesn't break any ground in the genre, what it does, it does well. It has the familiar feel of movies like The Full Monty and Calendar Girls. Like those, this film is grounded in real events too. How much of this tale is true to life, I couldn't tell you. But it feels authentic, and a quick internet search suggests the movie gets the basic facts right.
The cast is well suited to their roles, especially James Purefoy (Altered Carbon, Rome) who plays Jim, the leader of the band. The actor was born in Somerset, making it easy for him to pull off that tricky West Country accent. Meadow Nobrega and Daniel Mays (Good Omens) play the love interest. One of the most essential parts in the movie goes to the Cornish coastline, and it delivers in every scene. The raw beauty of the West Coast will leave you longing for a Scone by the heaving sea.
This feel-good film plays out much as you'd expected, there is no twist in the tale here — however, the gentle humour and portrayal of a close-knit community which values the importance of friendship will leave you smiling and singing along with the Fisherman's Friends. Hooray and up she rises Earlye in the morning!