The underdogs have always been a staple of British cinema. From the clumsy Bridget Jones’ Diary to Dexter Fletcher’s Eddie the Eagle, we just love to root for the outsider. Heck, even the brilliant The Fully Monty saw a bunch of ragtag men jubilantly take their clothes off to Tom Jones’ You Can Leave Your Hat On (and you will always cry, always.)
Anyway, maybe because we all feel like underdogs and we’re just too polite to say it, but underdogs are our cinematic bread and butter.
Fisherman’s Friends is the latest story to come along in this wheelhouse. Based, of course, on a true story, the film revolves around an all-male singing group in Port Issac, Cornwall. Happily singing tunes for locals and tourists, they are content with taking to the seas and the pub after a hard day on the waves. When a bunch of music executives arrive for a stag-do, they drunkenly upset the order. In a weird practical joke, they leave behind Danny with the task of signing the band (as a laugh,) and soon Danny immerses himself in the town. Soon he finds that maybe the Fisherman’s Friends isn’t what he is truly looking for.
Directed by Chris Foggin, Fisherman’s Friends is your average inspiring garb that despite it’s flaws will still make you feel things and cry a bit. It’s a tender film with some epic singing and great acting from the wide-eyed Daniel Mays to the strong-willed Tuppence Middleton (both, of which, need to be cast in more things.) Though the film ticks all the “inspiring story” boxes, the movie still finds a good groove and makes us like the characters and their story. There are also some pretty great scenes such as the Fisherman louting around London and the finale.
Even though the film has heart, it still has a lot of flaws. For some reason, this is a movie of two halves with cinematography. The film has a standard Brit-flick fare but then inter-splices it with weird drone footage and sketchy filming. Especially in London – it is as though they had two different budgets for the two different places and that’s off-putting. Plus, as mentioned, it is so average in story-telling. In fact, spoiler alert, before the film began I told my friend that someone would definitely die, pointed out who it would be, and I was not wrong. I was not wrong at all. It’s beats to the same drum as movies that have come before.
These movies aren’t ever going to go away and that isn’t a massive issue completely. They are good for something mundane and feel good. On that front, it certainly gets you – hook, line, and sinker.
Fisherman’s Friends is out 15th March