The new film The Great Seduction is a tale of an island on the verge of losing everything. The islanders have all been unemployed for quite some time. The island depended on fishing, and without a fishing plant set up on the island, leaving the island and sending money from a big city was the only option. Germán, a soccer-loving islander, feels the island is like a paradise on earth, and he will do anything to save it from dying. With just 110 people remaining on the island, the need of the hour was to get a permanent doctor to live on the island named Santa Maria. This was an essential requirement for the contractors to set up a fishing plant. Santa Maria has not had a permanent doctor for years. Who would want to leave the comfortable city life and come live in the no-internet zone of Santa Maria? When Mateo, a doctor, gets sent to the island for 30 days as a form of punishment, Germán tries to seize the opportunity and, with the islanders’ help, tries to’seduce’ Mateo into shifting to Santa Maria permanently.
The film has some of the most warm characters in recent memory. Characters like Germán, Anita, Simon, Benjamin, Jorge, and Julian represent the naivete and innocence that we all once had and remind us that without the internet, we would all be clueless about most of the things that go on in the world. Remove the television, and we will be sent to another planet. Dr. Mateo comes into this world and is fed a bunch of lies, but he doesn’t understand why Germán and the others are acting so strangely. He doesn’t know that they are doing this to get employment opportunities back on the island so that islanders don’t have to leave for the cities. The ‘seduction’ was meticulously planned, and the result is hilarious. Here is a cast and character guide for you to enjoy this warm tale more intensely:
Guillermo Villegas As Germán:
Germán’s brother left to work in the city when Germán was very young. He was as good as dead. Not in an emotional way but more in a pragmatic one. Germán never got to see him. Even his girlfriend, Maria, had to leave for the city. This was unimaginable for Germán. He would rather try and get the fishing plant made by hook or by crook than leave this ‘heaven’ and settle in the city. His methods to make Mateo stay in Santa Maria are treacherous, to say the least. He even manages to get the whole village involved in his elaborate lies. He’s a lovable character who does some questionable things, and yet you can’t help but root for him. Guillermo Villegas plays Germán with utmost sincerity. Guillermo, who has some great films like Sin Nobre and Prayers for the Sun under his belt, was last seen in the TV series Harina and the film Where the Tracks End.
Pierre Louis As Dr. Mateo:
Mateo would never have even heard of Santa Maria if he had kept his boozing habit under control. Germán had sent letters to various doctors, requesting that they permanently shift to Santa Maria. When Mateo’s senior saw him urinating in his car, he decided to punish him by sending him to Santa Maria. Though it was not permanent, he was dreading the stay. Germán had plans to make Mateo fall in love with the place, and even though that never happened, Mateo started to reconfigure his perception of the place that he initially saw as uninhabitable. Pierre Louis plays the football fanatic doctor with an air of discomfort, which complements the character, as he really is a fish out of water on the island. Pierre was last seen playing Antonio in the HBO series Amsterdam.
Yalitza Aparicio As Anita:
Anita represents the conscience of the movie. She knew that Germán was lying to Mateo about how great the island was. He had even involved the whole island in this scheme to make sure Mateo got ‘seduced.’ But she knew that when Mateo inevitably got to know the truth—that the people had lied to him about almost everything—he would be furious. She actually had the courage to tell Mateo the truth. She didn’t want that island to lose its fishing plant. She just wanted Germán and the others to not manipulate Mateo with their elaborate ruse. Her philosophy was simple: if someone stays even after knowing the hardships on the island, then they will stay no matter what. Yalitza Aparicio brought out Anita’s loneliness but didn’t miss out on bringing out the integrity of her character. She wasn’t going to compromise on the truth. Yalitza, the Academy Award nominee, debuted with Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, and since then, she has been steadily doing great and nuanced work, bringing strong feminine characters to the screen. She was last seen in the series Los Espookys, playing The Moon.
Eligio Meléndez As Simon:
The senior member of the crew, Simon, was part of every island meeting. He was essentially a council member, even though there was no council. He announced the meeting on the loudspeaker and hoped everybody would gather in the church to discuss important matters. Simon had with him a wealth of wisdom but was out of touch with modern reality. He assisted Germán wherever he could, never once questioning him, for he knew he wanted what was best for Santa Maria. Eligio started his career way back in 1987, and since then, he has appeared in over 60 films and TV series, most notably in films like I Dream in Another Language and New Order.
Julio Casado As Benjamin:
The comedy department was handled by Julio Casado. He played Benjamin like a scared child who pretended to go along with the rest when he didn’t know what else to do. Benjamin’s great fear as a bank manager is that he will be replaced by an ATM very soon. He is a stickler for rules but is never able to say no to Germán, neither to giving away cash from his dead mother’s checks nor to his elaborate plan to’seduce’ Mateo. On many occasions, Benjamin almost gave away the whole plot, but Mateo couldn’t catch on, which made for some rib-tickling comedy. Julio was last seen in the TV series Rutas de la Vida.
There were many other characters, like Jorge, the musician with the athlete’s foot, and the two ladies in charge of writing down all the details of Mateo’s phone calls, which added to the humor of the story. The Great Seduction is a warm tale of these characters, whose desperation may seem comedic on the surface, but they’ve all been touched by life’s harshness. Watch the movie to get a new perspective on how to squeeze every last drop of love out of our relationships and be content with the smallest of joys life offers us.