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  • Colin Fraser


TWO STARS Cornish fishermen catch fish by day, drink by night and sing sea shanties in their time off. Stardom awaits.

James Purefoy, Daniel Mays


At least once a year the British film industry releases what they hope will be the next FULL MONTY; some variant on the story of ordinary but plucky folk who come together to step out of their comfort zone and realise a dream. Think CALENDAR GIRLS or MADE IN DAGENHAM and whilst each had its charms and merits, neither was a MONTY sized runaway hit. Enter FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS which, to mix metaphors, is having a tilt at the holy grail. That it falls short is an understatement.

Based on the very true story of Cornish fisherman who unintentionally hit the biggish-time with a Top-Ten album of sea shanty’s, FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS has been cut from much the same cloth as its stable-mates. A group of working class fellas fish by day and drink by night. On their days off they sing ‘rock and roll of the 1750’s’ down at the docks to passing tourists. They're ordinary folk who never thought much past tending their families until city types arrive in the village. They work for a record label, hear the fishermen and spot an opportunity. You can pretty much guess the rest.

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS doesn’t stray far from formula and is all the poorer for it. MONTY arrived fresh, while this has all the charm of yesterday’s by-catch as it ticks off the tropes and clichés before landing hard on a bed of irrelevance. It has all the ingredients for a Julie Walters-styled brassy charmer but it simply isn’t. Perhaps appropriate for a film about tackling the music industry, we’re served all the manufactured sincerity of a judging panel on <Insert Country Here>’s Got Talent. More corny than Cornish.

It’s a shame because hiding somewhere inside this anxiously-desperate-to-please film is the true story of the Fisherman’s Friends, one about ordinary but plucky folk who came together to step out of their comfort zone and record a Top Ten album. It should have been a runaway hit.


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