movie film review | chris tookey

Tamara Drewe

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  Tamara Drewe Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
6.67 /10
Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam , Bill Camp
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Directed by: Stephen Frears
Written by: Moira Buffini. Based on Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel. Loosely based on Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd

Released: 2010
Origin: UK
Colour: C
Length: 109

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A biting update to a British literary classic... Stephen Frears' adaption of Posey Simmonds' colourful graphic novel (which in turn was based on Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd) presents a rural England of leafy lanes, rolling fields and thatched houses suffused in an idyllic glow. Scratch the surface and look behind the hedgerows, though, and you will find a cesspit of dark deeds and evil thoughts, much of it unleashed by two precocious and bored teenage girls who, through email and text, create a web of intrigue around the unfortunate adults... Frears, after the costume drama of Colette (I refer here to last year's Cheri), seems to be reenergized by Tamara's foibles, and perhaps has created a new genre: the contemporary pastoral comedy.
(Richard Mowe, Box Office)
Tamara is funny, saucy and marvelously acted. After roles as 'the girl' in Clash Of The Titans and Prince Of Persia, Alice Creed and this film show that Arterton is a more than capable leading lady. Behind the lens, director Frears expertly juggles multiple character strands - Bill Camp as an author on a writer's retreat and Jessica Barden's scheming Tamara-like Jody provide memorable support - that lean on the side of light and frothy. A dark plot turn in the final reel does clash somewhat with the genial tone, but it's never anything less than entertaining.
(Simon Reynolds, Digital Spy)
One of the best films of the year.
(Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail)
Moira Buffini’s smart adaptation of Posy Simmond’s comic strip perfectly suits Frears (who shows suitable appreciation of the source material by sometimes shooting scenes that look to be panel-for-panel shots from the comic) who subtly allows the comedy to bubble to the surface, and makes great use of his strong cast, with Roger Allam especially good as the crumpled thriller writer. But to a large degree this is Gemma Arterton’s film. She has gone the Hollywood route and played feisty femmes in Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time and Clash Of The Titans as well as playing it down-and-gritty in The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, but here she shows a steely and easy charm that enraptures the village men.
(Mark Adams, Screen International)
A delightful frolic that goes down easier than chilled rose on a sunny summer afternoon.
(Neil Smith, Total Film)
Frears brings his droll, witty touch to material that never pretends to be too deep. The clammy striving to be found at writers’ retreats, and the mind-blowing tedium of growing up in a bucolic wonderland, are evoked with economy and grace. A running joke about Drewe’s nose job never grows stale. Arterton exudes gusty pulchritude, while Allam is magnificent as a self-centred philanderer: no other English actor is quite as slimy when baring their teeth to smile as he is.
(Sukhdev Sandhu, Daily Telegraph)
Screenwriter Moira Buffini and director Stephen Frears have created a very English pastoral based on an interesting proposition: the countryside is not the sweet, picturesque place imagined by townies, but a seething hellhole of moral turpitude, where people will commit deplorable acts out of sheer resentment and boredom... The film does justice to a recurring theme of Simmonds's: the unending and ferocious envy felt by writers for the greater success of other writers. Nicholas does not feel envy himself, but he is secretly addicted to the dark thrill of being envied by the poor saps who come to his "retreat". He certainly doesn't like the country and has a strange fear of his cows who are, he says, packed with "bovine malice". Like Anna Karenina with her railway-themed dreams, those cows are giving him a strange feeling of foreboding. It is all madly silly, but it gallops enjoyably along, and it has the easy, sunlit look of an episode of Midsomer Murders. Frears and Buffini make it look easy.
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)

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