Friday, 10 September 2010

[383] Tamara Drewe (2010) Review

In a way, the Tamara Drewe film was welcomed with more apprehension than the comparatively more-loved Scott Pilgrim adaptation. Maybe it's the fault of the trailer, which looks a little frothy and twee. The film is good, impeccably cast and well adapted, flipping many of the stylistic traits of the book - which worked in the more contemplative form - and making it a more compelling moving image. In the process it creates its own problems, of course, but it has its own genius.

Gemma Arteton and I were born in the same year. This makes me feel strange.

It's been a prime year for left of centre comic adaptations, and Tamara Drewe continues the trend. Adapted from the serial by Posy Simmonds which initially appeared in The Guardian, the film stars Gemma Arterton as a bombshell journalist, who, returning to her rural Dorset hometown after success in London, kicks up a bit of an amorous storm.

Set in the fictional Dorsetshire village of Ewedon, the film opens with sun-drenched landscapes of rural exotica: shots of rolling fields, clumps of trees, and masses of livestock. Before long, a striking yellow Mini pulls up, pelted by eggs thrown by youngsters. Out steps Tamara, spitting at no-one in particular, "What a dump."

After her mother's death, she is back to sort out the house she left behind and soon becomes entangled in the local writer's retreat, owned by esteemed thriller writer/serial philanderer Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam, with a Hitchens-like swagger) and his wife Beth (Tamsin Greig).

"Far from the madding crowd", the retreat's newspaper ad reads, cheekily hinting at the book's Hardian inspiration, and its promise of solace has attracted a varied brood of authors, including American academic Glen McCreavy (Bill Camp). But with Drewe's intrusion, and her blazing love affair with wildchild rock star Ben (a grungy Dominic Cooper), the village's humble equilibrium is completely obliterated.

Read the full article here.

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