'Terrible movie - it lacked structure.'
But I'm a professional storyteller, and I thought it was a great movie ... was I missing something?
It is so often true that someone else's differing perspective shifts us into a better position from which to view our own position, and to more clearly articulate it for ourselves, if not for others.
So it is that, having recently heard the above response to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen I accepted the invitation to consider my own response to this movie, and to finally find the words to describe how I feel about it.
Which is, essentially, that I found it beautiful - a thing of beauty.
The depictions of scenery from London to the Scottish hills and the deserts of the Yemen were scenes of beauty.
It may not have been surprising in its plot development, or overly clever in its use of storytelling technique. But Salmon Fishing in the Yemen tells a story of courage and discovery. Discovery of what is possible if we dream, if we believe in ourselves, and if we work together.
It is a story that celebrates the quirky, odd, eccentric ones among us. Not a patronising celebration, either, but a dignified affirmation of the less conventional folk we encounter. (and, yes, being one such eccentric myself, I am especially grateful for this)
Predictable though some elements of the story might have been, it also celebrates love and friendship, with the honest portrayal of the relationships we experience.
The characters were played with sublime artistry from actors - in particular I think of Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor - who, chameleon-like, are almost unrecognisable from one film to the next because they so embody the characters they portray. They made me laugh and cry; I felt their need to break free, was trapped with them and liberated with them. A story so unlike my own drew me in because these characters' emotions were so like emotions I have known. Communicating so that the audience will identify with the characters is a key when seeking to move your audience.
Ultimately, we do tell the same limited number of stories over and over, with different settings and characters and ordering of the plot. We tell the stories that tell us who we are.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen moved me, its characters resonated with me, I was in awe of the artistry of two very fine actors, and the story gave me hope by holding a mirror up to humanity and showing us that we can, indeed, be beautiful.