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Tamara Drewe DVD

Stephen Frears, 2010

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Film Details

Directed by Stephen Frears

Produced in 2010

Main Language - English

Countries & Regions - British Film

MovieMail's Review

Posy Simmonds' Guardian comic strip comes to life in this thoroughly entertaining dark comic tale of rural intrigue. It's a welcome alternative to caricatures of Englishness, says Milo Wakelin.

Inaccurately marketed as an effervescent rom-com a la Bridget Jones, this smart, witty ensemble drama soon reveals a darker side, giving its idyllic rural setting the air and intrigue of a murder mystery. Directed by Stephen Frears, whose recent successes include the Oscar-winning The Queen (2006) and the charming Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), Tamara Drewe also recalls a little of the edge of his earlier hit, Dangerous Liaisons (1988) (with the action relocated to rural Dorset).

Based on Posy Simmondsí cartoon series for The Guardian, a contemporary reworking of Thomas Hardyís 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), whoís 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 writersí 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 Simmondsí infallible eye for detail. The castís 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 RSCís recent run of Henry IV will know that Roger Allam can play a cad like no other. But itís the filmís 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 Simmondís writing and the strength of Frearsí direction.

Gripping and infallibly entertaining to the very end, Tamara Drewe is a welcome alternative to Four Weddings-esque caricatures of Englishness.

Milo Wakelin on 21st February 2011
Author of 106 reviews

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Film Description

A big-screen adaptation of the comic strip by Posy Simmonds. Gemma Arterton stars as Tamara Drewe, a former ugly duckling turned glamourpuss who makes a triumphant return to the sleepy Dorset village of Ewedown. Having spent a few years in London reinventing herself as a music journalist and sex kitten, Tamara now makes an indelible mark on the village and its clutch of middle-class, sex-obsessed residents including philandering novelist Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), narcissistic pop star Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper), teenage tearaways Jody and Casey (Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie), and Tamara's lovestruck former boyfriend, shy hunk Andy (Luke Evans).

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Publisher: Momentum

Length: 111 mins

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 28th March 2011

Cat No: MP1087D

Subtitles: English

DVD Extras

  • Behind the Scenes Documentary.

Film Stills

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