Tamara Drewe

Tamara Drewe is a British comedy directed by Stephen Frears, with a screenplay by Moira Buffini, based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds. The film opens at a writers’ colony in Dorset. It is run by Beth Hardiment (Tamsin Greig), who is married to a philandering crime novelist, Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam). The lodgers include an American academic, Glen McCreavy (Bill Camp), who is writing a book about Thomas Hardy. Beth is assisted around her farm by a handyman, Andy Cobb (Luke Evans). When Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton), a comely young woman sporting a recently surgically shortened nose, moves into the farmhouse next door, Andy (her erstwhile boyfriend) and the lecherous Nicholas both take notice. However, Tamara launches into a romance with a rock star, Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper). This draws the attention of two bratty teenagers, Jody and Casey (Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie), who are obsessed with Sergeant. Their attempts to intrude into the lives of Ben and Tamara set off a chain of events that have consequences for the other characters that are both comic and tragic.

Tamara Drewe is a thoroughly delightful comedy. There is a light-heartedness about it that is just wonderful. Even when, towards the end, the tone of the film suddenly turns serious, there is still a feeling of joie de vivre about it. It never sinks into melodrama, the way The Kids Are All Right does. The acting is uniformly good. I especially liked Roger Allam and Tamsin Grieg. Allam does a very good job of conveying his character’s smug cynicism and complacency. Grieg makes the long-suffering wife very real and sympathetic.

There is a touch of class consciousness in the film, in that Andy’s family was forced to sell the house that Tamara now lives in. More than once Andy refers to himself as a “peasant”. Perhaps not coincidentally, he is the most level-headed character in the film. Having experienced poverty, he has fewer illusions than the other characters do.

I highly recommend this film.

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