Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

"Fundamentally unfeasible."

That's how bookish English fish expert Dr. Alfred Jones responds to the idea of transplanting 10,000 Scottish salmon to the arid country of Yemen on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

It's an idea floated by a fabulously wealthy, salmon-loving, fly-fishing sheikh. And it comes courtesy of a young representative named Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, an employee of the sheikh's English land holding firm.

Dr. Jones' unambiguous "no" should have been the end of the conversation. But the British government is hungry for a positive story out of the Middle East to distract its citizens from the ongoing bloodbath in Afghanistan. "We need a bit of Anglo-Arab news about things that don't explode," says hard-charging Bridget Maxwell, the prime minister's press officer.

And so, with the flick of his boss's administrative pen, the uptight doctor of all things fish finds himself on the payroll of a pastoral sheikh and heading up a 50 billion pound project to bring salmon fishing … to Yemen.

The doctor, who goes by Fred among friends, acknowledges that the outlandish project is "theoretically possible." Then he adds, "The way a manned mission to Mars is theoretically possible."

But then something unexpected begins to happen: He starts to believe it could actually work.

Something else happens too, something even more complicated: Fred begins to have feelings for Harriet. The complication stems from the fact that Fred feels trapped in a deteriorating, passionless marriage to his career-minded wife, Mary. Harriet, for her part, is pining away for her boyfriend, Robert, a soldier who has gone missing in Afghanistan.

Just like salmon fishing in the Yemen, their budding romance is also fundamentally unfeasible but theoretically possible.

[Note: Spoilers are contained in the following sections.]

Positive Elements

It turns out that Sheikh Muhammad's vision is about more than just feeding his fishing habit. And Fred is slowly won over by his warmth and the scope of his imagination. In the process, Fred also saves his new friend's life at two different moments of extreme peril.

Muhammad insists that fishermen don't care about the issues that divide most people—whether someone is brown or white, rich or poor, whether they fish in waders or wearing an Arab robe. Instead, he says, the virtues of the fisherman are "patience, tolerance and humility."

Fred's feelings for Harriet, while utterly inappropriate, can be lauded within at least one context: his desire to care for her in her season of grief. In a platonic effort to cheer Harriet up, Fred takes her food and generally seeks to encourage her. When news comes that Robert is dead, Fred spends a night trying to provide the comfort of friendship—again with nary a trace of an ulterior motive.

Spiritual Content

For an unassuming romantic dramedy, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen includes a lot of spiritual content. And almost all of it comes courtesy of Sheikh Muhammad: The sheikh is a devout Muslim—who frequently talks about the intersection of faith and … fishing. He challenges Fred to loosen his grip on his secular worldview and embrace the possibility of faith—seemingly in a general sense, not just Islam—in something bigger than scientific rationalism.

Muhammad says that fulfilling his fishing vision for Yemen would be "a miracle of God." And when Fred responds that he's more of a "facts and figures man," the sheikh counters, saying that anyone who spends long hours in the wind, rain and cold with little chance of success must have some faith. They raise of toast "to faith and fishing" … "and science," Fred tacks on the end.

Undaunted, the sheikh suggests that Fred's spiritual stance toward the fishing project will somehow play a role in its outcome. "Do this with an open heart," he exhorts, "or nothing will come of it." He says, "I intended to create a small miracle [with the salmon], something to glorify God and bring our tribes together. [But] sometimes I wonder if it doesn't glorify man—it's a very fine line." Before the salmon are released, the sheikh gives a short speech in which he observes that "Muslims, Christians and the odd heathen [are] all gathered here in an act of faith."

There is resistance among the sheikh's people. They accuse him of dishonoring God by bringing in Western ways, and they attempt to violently sabotage his success.

In Yemen, he and Harriet witness Muslim faithful bowing and praying. Fred comments to her, "I don't know anyone who goes to church anymore." She agrees: "I don't think I do either."

Sexual Content

Harriet and Robert kiss passionately on several occasions and discuss whether they're really ready to have sex after a date early in their relationship. "I haven't done this in a really long time," Harriet admits. Robert demurs, twice suggesting he could sleep on the couch. He doesn't. We see them in bed the next morning. Later, the couple is reunited unexpectedly in Yemen. Harriet pulls off her pants and gets in bed with him—then tells him she's not ready to have sex.

Fred and his wife are shown (briefly) finishing intercourse (under the sheets) in a scene that's meant to illustrate how perfunctory and passionless their marriage has become. "That should do you for a while," she says. It looks as though the couple is headed toward divorce when Mary jealously confronts Fred regarding Harriet, asking if he's in love with her. Though Fred and Harriet have not begun a physical affair, he is already falling for her. And his silence at Mary's inquisition gives her all the answer she needs.

Fred and Harriet go for a swim together: He's wearing trunks and no shirt, she's wearing a white dress that clings to her curves. We see a still image of a scantily clad female pop singer. A phone conversation between Bridget Maxwell and a colleague involves an interchange about a breaking sex scandal. The government official repeatedly delivers double entendres related to men and their fishing rods.

Violent Content

The sheikh's Yemeni enemies twice try to take his life. When a man tries to shoot Muhammad, Fred uses his fly-fishing rod and fishing line as a whip, Indiana Jones-style, to yank the gun from the attacker's hand. Later, two men kill a soldier by breaking his neck and throwing his body over the dam, then open the floodgates. Fred once again saves the sheikh in the raging flood that ensues. One person is killed (offscreen) in the aftermath; we see the body covered by a sheet.

Crude or Profane Language

The film's harshest profanity comes courtesy of Mrs. Maxwell admonishing her sullen adolescent son, "I'm not one of your b‑‑ches. … I'm your f‑‑‑ing mother." Elsewhere, Fred angrily makes a suggestion involving someone's "a‑‑" and a "meter ruler." It's not the only time we hear "a‑‑." Other foul words includes about a dozen misuses of God's name (including one paired with "d‑‑n"), two abuses of Jesus' name, close to 15 uses of "bloody," and a handful each of "b‑‑tard," "h‑‑‑" and "d‑‑mit." Someone blurts out "b-llocks."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Bridget smokes. Several scenes involve wine or champagne. A humorous interchange between Fred and Harriet finds him outlining his personal rules for drinking: never on weekdays, and only after 7 p.m. on weekends.

Other Negative Elements

Fred is weary of his wife's continual prioritization of her career over their relationship, a pattern that's evident when she takes a six-week assignment in Geneva without even asking him what he thinks of the idea. But when she has a change of heart, desperately texting Fred in Yemen, "Don't leave me," he responds, "I'm so sorry. It's for the best, Mary."

It's ultimately implied that Fred will indeed leave Mary to be with Harriet.

Elsewhere, Harriet meanly compares Fred's emotionless demeanor to someone with Asperger's syndrome. One of Fred's co-workers labels a delegation of Chinese engineers "little chippy chappies."


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is as much about friendship as romance—or fish, for that matter. Fred's relationships with the big-hearted sheikh and with Harriet transform him and invite him to embrace a kind of passionate commitment to pursuing his dreams that he's never experienced before. And it's impossible not to root for the sheikh's unlikely dream to come true.

The problem is that the film also invites us to root for Fred and Harriet to get together. That outcome is telegraphed from the beginning, of course, cribbed from the countless "odd couple" romances Hollywood has produced for decades. We're supposed to want these two struggling souls to find each other, as clearly they're "fated" to do.

That, however, demands the sacrifice of Fred's marriage to Mary. "Don't leave me," she begs, making Fred's curt response seem heartbreakingly cruel.

Forget about ending with an obvious fish metaphor, then. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is actually more like a Mike and Ike's Zours candy—sweet on the outside with a sour spot at its core.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range



Ewan McGregor as Dr. Alfred Jones; Emily Blunt as Harriet Chetwode-Talbot; Amr Waked as Sheikh Muhammad; Kristin Scott Thomas as Bridget Maxwell; Tom Mison as Capt. Robert Mayers; Rachael Stirling as Mary Jones; Conleth Hill as Bernard Sugden


Lasse Hallström ( )





Record Label



In Theaters

March 9, 2012

On Video

July 17, 2012

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!