St. Marie-La-Mauderne, a small fishing village near Quebec, has fallen on hard times. The locals, including Germaine (Raymond Bouchard) collect their welfare checks from the post office and promptly cash them at the bank every month, proceeding from one to the other like prisoners going to the exercise yard. A company is considering the small town for a new factory, which would give the town an enormous boost, both morally and financially. The one catch is that there is no full-time doctor in residence; the company’s insurance policy requires this. Germaine and his friends go about recruiting a doctor. Soon, Dr. Christopher Lewis (David Boutin) arrives, for a month trial. The townsfolk tap his phone and try to make sure that he has everything he could ever want. During the month, he also eyes the only single woman in the entire town, the post mistress. Will he be convinced to stay in the town?
“Seducing Dr. Lewis”, a French Canadian film, is a charming little film, much like “Waking Ned Devine” or “Local Hero”. The film depicts the lives of the people in this small town, making them believable and eccentric.
“Seducing” doesn’t break any new ground, what it does is provide a sweet, sometimes funny little slice of life. As we are introduced to the characters and the town, we learn what life in St. Marie-La-Mauderne was like in the good old days, when fishing was lucrative. This is a funny segment and easily sets the tone for the remainder of the film. In present day, the town has fallen on hard times. Many of the people stay because this is what their entire lives have been. When things become so bad, some people start to move or threaten to move. The offer of a new factory is made and the town works towards that.
The arrival of Dr. Lewis isn’t an entirely voluntary one. Many doctors receive the notices from the town and laughingly throw them away. Dr. Lewis is “encouraged” to visit the town and initially scoffs at the small town. As he learns that the restaurant serves Beef Bourguignon and the town plays Cricket, two of his favorite things, he starts to warm to them. Of course, both of these things are lies and the townspeople are merely putting on a show.
The film throws in a couple of complications along the way, to keep things interesting. The company building the town needs a certain number of people living in the vicinity, to adequately staff the facility. When company officials visit, Germain gives them a tour, following the townspeople from one location to the other, giving the appearance of a lot more people.
The outcome of the film is predictable, perhaps, but it is also good-natured. I know of a few people who will not go to violent films. They want to see happy films about people. Well, “Seducing Dr. Lewis” is for you. It is the perfect rental for a night in, after a tough week at work. Get some French take out and enjoy a visit to a sleepy little fishing village called St. Marie-La-Mauderne.