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Film Details

Directed by: Stephen Frears

Produced: 2010

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Length: 111 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 28 March 2011

Cat No: MP1087D

Extras:
Languages(s): English
Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu
Screen ratio 1:1.78

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Tamara Drewe

Cast: Tamsin Greig , Gemma Arterton , Bronagh Gallagher , John Bett , Roger Allam , James Naughtie , Dominic Cooper , Luke Evans , Jessica Barden , Bill Camp , Charlotte Christie , Josie Taylor

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Stephen Frears directs this big-screen adaptation of the comic strip by Posy Simmonds. Gemma Arterton stars as Tamara Drewe, a former... Read More

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Stephen Frears directs this 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).
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 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.

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