Sunday, 7 November 2010

Tamara Drewe review

In short: a funny romp with lots of rural Brits getting snobby and hot under
the collar over sex, and Gemma Arterton having fun.

Tamara Drewe is a darkly humourous romp based on English manners and infidelity, adapted from Posy Simmonds’ comic strip, directed with customary skill by Stephen Frears (The Queen), and starring Gravesend’s very own, Gemma Arterton. In her best role yet, Arterton’s Tamara is a journalist who returns to the rural Dorset village of Hadditon to sell her family home, while setting many hearts (and loins) a flutter with her surgically acquired button nose and tiny denim shorts.

Many of the entanglements that follow revolve around a writers retreat hosted at a farmhouse called Far from the Madding Crowd (the original story is inspired by the Thomas Hardy novel). It’s run by the Hardiments; long suffering wife Ruth, played by the excellent Tamsin Greig and her philandering, best-selling author of a husband Nicholas, the wonderfully pompous Roger Allam. Meanwhile, the local hunky farmhand Andy (Luke Evans), who used to have a thing with Tamara when they were teenagers and she had a massive honk, is none too pleased when flash boy-band drummer Ben (Dominic Cooper) arrives in her life.

What you get is that rare thing, a genuinely funny film which also offers a satirical slice of British life, taking in literary snobbery, marital strife, celebrity and teenage infatuation. The cast are uniformly on the money and Gemma Arterton anchors the film with her natural charm and vivaciousness, in a role that could have been far less sympathetic in different hands.

Bawdy, full of fruity Anglo Saxon language, Tamara Drewe gives you belly laughs and moments of darkness (often in close succession). Its themes are universal but it’s also uniquely British - a comedy of resentment and snobbery.

**** (Four Stars)
As published in KM Group

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