Directed by: Stephen Frears
Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Length: 111 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 28 March 2011
Cat No: MP1087D
Screen ratio 1:1.78
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Also available on Blu-ray
Stephen Frears directs this big-screen adaptation of the comic strip by Posy Simmonds. Gemma Arterton stars as Tamara Drewe, a former... Read More
Based on Posy Simmonds’ cartoon series for The Guardian, a contemporary reworking of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd, the film follows the chaos caused by its eponymous heroine (played by Gemma Arterton), who returns to her home village in rural Dorset having transformed from an ungainly duckling into a sultry swan, courtesy of a nose-job and the glamor of a national newspaper column.
No-one could be more surprised than her dashing former flame, Andy (Luke Evans), who’s fallen on hard times and has been hired to help Tamara renovate an old cottage. No-one could be more delighted than famed murder-mystery author, and ageing Lothario, Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), who runs a nearby writers’ retreat with his long-suffering wife, Beth (Tamsin Greig). And no-one could be more dismayed than bored local teens Jody and Casey (Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie) who are obsessed with a bad-boy rock star, Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper) and are furious when he falls for the new arrival.
Like Robert Altman's Gosford Park, Tamara Drewe brilliantly dissects the secrets, lies, personal rivalries and social divisions of its genteel setting, and each shot recreates Simmonds’ infallible eye for detail. The cast’s resemblance to their drawn counterparts is uncanny: Gemma Arterton is a luminously beautiful presence in a role that calls for far more dexterity and range than a mere Bond girl, and anyone lucky enough to see his portrayal of Falstaff in the RSC’s recent run of Henry IV will know that Roger Allam can play a cad like no other. But it’s the film’s youngest stars who steal the show: as two revolting teens infesting a dilapadated rural bus-stop, Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie showcase the best of Simmond’s writing and the strength of Frears’ direction.
Gripping and infallibly entertaining to the very end, Tamara Drewe is a welcome alternative to Four Weddings-esque caricatures of Englishness.