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  • This is an utterly, utterly English film and all the more charming, wry and artful for that. No wonder both BBC Films and the UK Film Council helped to fund it. Director Stephen Frears ("The Queen")has taken a screenplay by Moira Buffini, adapted from a comic strip by Posy Simmonds which in turn is a kind of pastiche of Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd", and combined it with a wonderful British cast and the stunning Dorset countryside to create a delightful work which could hardly contrast more with the usual Hollywood output.

    Set in the mythical and comatose village of Ewedown over the course of one year, the film - like Hardy's book - has three men vying for the attention of a bewitchingly beautiful young woman - Tamara who was brought up in the village, has reshaped her life in so many ways, and now returns as a successful journalist.

    The casting is brilliant from gorgeous, former Bond girl ("Quantum Of Solace") Gemma Arterton as the eponymous attraction, sporting the most diminutive denim shorts imaginable, to 17 year old Jessica Barden who is terrific as the village teenager who unwittingly causes most of the mayhem, with so many fine performances in between, whether male or female, whether large or small. For fans of Thomas Hardy, there are many allusions to his character and work. For the rest of us, Buffini's script offers so many sharp lines before serving up a satisfying, if traditional, conclusion.
  • Tamara Drewe is a real gem by The Queen director Stephen Frears. It is an updated version of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd but based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds. A dark comedy set in the English countryside, the story is centred on a writer's colony run by Tamsin Greig's character Beth and her crime writer husband Nicholas, played by Roger Allam.

    Gemma Arteton plays the title character who lived in the same small down in Dorset known as Ewedown during her teenage years. Now grown up she returns to restore and hopefully sell the house she used to live in. With help from a surgically reconstructed nose, Tamara Drewe has blossomed into a beautiful woman and her presence shakes the sleepy town as Bethsheba did in Hardy's novel.

    The film is true to the memory of Thomas Hardy maintaining the turmoil of sexual desire and even obsession across all age groups which so commonly adorned his novels. One of the characters, the sympathetic American novelist Glen played by Bill Camp is writing a novel influenced by Hardy and references the author on many occasions.

    The film breaks the notion of a quiet and sleepy town, like so many British films do. Underneath these seemingly close communities lies an underlining suspicion. Everyone is in everyone else's business in Ewedown and Tamara's presence only helps fuel the tension.

    The pivotal scene that embodies Tamara Drewe's character occurs when Glen tells her that life must be very easy for her because she is beautiful. She laughs it off citing that it has always been difficult for her to be taken seriously.

    Behind the character of Tamara Drewe lies something more sinister. The sudden appearance of a beautiful face in the town leads to a series of events that causes the balance of everyone's life to be upset. Men are suddenly smitten by the prospect of sex while women are often jealous or angry by the disruption they cause.

    The story really begins to escalate when Tamara begins to date a drummer in a rock band played by Dominic Cooper and sets up permanently in the town. Soon, everyone in the town is invested in the lives of these people in some way.

    The voyeurism of the locals who regard Tamara Drewe as both someone to envy and detest is likened to the celebrity status of her rock star boyfriend. Tamara quickly becomes the target of two schoolgirls who are both obsessed with the drummer and jealous of Tamara for disturbing the order of things.

    The film eases its dark themes with its excellent use of subtle humour. The updated version of one of Hardy's most celebrated novels exposes the reality of a voyeuristic society too concerned with the lives of other people.

    Along with Frears excellent direction, the other great strength of this film is its actors with special distinction going to Tamsin Greig. Greig is familiar to the London stage scene while others have played minor roles in big films. Gemma Arteton was one of Bond's muses in the Quantum of Solace. Roger Allam has been equally excellent in Frears academy award winning film the Queen as well as in V for Vendetta.

    On one final note, I read one review that argued that the climax just does not amount to much which I personally felt was very misguided. The ending was true to the traditions of Hardy which is what Tamara Drewe is all about.
  • A very, very good movie, no doubt. Everything, in particular, each man, woman, chicken, car, tear, cow and dog and meadow, each pop and tune is on the right place. Excellent dialogs, sparkling soundtrack, gorgeous photography, rich colors, fresh, witty and ebullient, perfectly balanced black and ... regular humor. The story is nicely knitted, a lot of grey matter must have been consumed for the dialogs. Some lines have got what it takes to become a "quote". I loved it! Found a few British stereotypes? So what? Troubles to follow the quick replies in the original English version? Cannot follow the subtitles while trying to translate the cream of the jokes? So what? Watch it again!! I will!
  • London columnist Tamara Drewe (Gemma Aterton) reappears in a small and isolated village in the English countryside. She wants to sell her parents' house and interview a rock star. Soon enough, three males fall for the young and very attractive woman : romance novelist and cheating husband Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), rock star Ben Sargeant (Dominic Cooper) and past boyfriend Andy Cobb (Luke Evans). While her house is being renovated by Andy, Tamara writes her own novel and enjoys Ben's company. Little does she know that teenager Jody Long (Jessica Barden) is scheming to come closer to the rock star. In the course of a year, each character will find out that "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".

    Don't expect an in-depth / social demonstration on city dwellers vs. villagers. This is a brilliant and funny comedy where each character's selfish motives and agenda are gradually exposed. "Writers are just thieves and liars" quotes Nicholas blissfully, more careful to please his paying guests than to pay attention to his devoted wife Beth (Tamsin Greig).

    The actors are doing a fine job and there is a good chemistry between them. There are no dull moments since there are three main story lines : Tamara and Ben, her neighbors Nicholas and Beth, the mischievous teenagers. These two girls however tend to steal the show as they are so gross, unashamed and reckless !
  • napierslogs25 November 2010
    Ewedown is an idyllic, little English countryside village where writers retreat to seek inspiration, and peace and quiet. Or at least it was idyllic until Tamara Drewe returned home.

    The stunningly beautiful Gemma Arterton plays Tamara Drewe. Her presence immediately sparks the interest of the local men, and the bored, local teenage girls who are looking for excitement to spice up their mundane town life. She is so sexy that she has her choice of affairs, but as usual, it's always the asshole who gets the girl. Just as it looks like Tamara is going to settle down with the rock and roll drummer Ben (Dominic Cooper) to interrupt the reserved lifestyle of the village, life gets complicated for everybody who wants something with Tamara.

    "Tamara Drewe" is a comedy of affairs, complete with foul language, quirky characters and the irreverent British humour. Arterton sparkles as Tamara, but it's less about the characters and more about who will bed who and what will the consequences be? It sometimes seems to forget the age of its audience when it goes for the comedy of teenage girls getting into mischief, but it's also exactly what you would expect for an odd comedy about a group of writers and one hot girl.
  • robbierunciman-112 September 2010
    I remember the cartoon strip from the Guardian and the compelling story that made the Saturday paper a must buy each week that it ran. I had two worries going into the film: what happens if they change it and make it awful; and, I had imagined Tamara a little older than Gemma Arterton - maybe she was not right for the part. Film makers often disappoint (the "Time Travellers wife" is a case in point where an excellent story was ruined by someone not understanding the multiple viewpoints in the book).

    Not sure if this was aimed at fat middle aged blokes - but it worked for me, my worries were groundless: the comedy and drama survived from the story (maybe Posy Simmonds should create more novels that can be filmed). The casting was excellent and Roger Allam gave a fantastic performance, Tamsin Greg was brilliant as usual and Gemma Arterton was a revelation in the lead role. The Drumming sequence with 'Ben' in the cottage was particularly brilliant. It was good with its 'loser' characters (and I thought, maybe they should have weekends to help civil servants write inspiring briefing for uninspiring Ministers)

    I am amazed at the negative reviews on the site, I do not think that that the film tried to be more than it was and yes it was set in an idyllic English village - that was the point. Maybe these reviewers should be more careful at the multiplex and are more at home with rubbish like the "Expendibles". Not clear about the link to 'Cold Confort Farm' made by another reviewer this is clearly a different style of story about modern people in the modern countryside.

    There was superb characterisation by a first rate cast in a subversive story that played with the stock characters that stories in English villages always have and made some real points about what is happening in these communities and about peoples lives and how selfish actions and jokey 'messing' can have big consequences in other people's lives.

    Go and see this movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Tamara Drewe is full of comic book characters – literally, of course, as it is based on a Posy Simmonds comic strip. So we should not complain that nearly every character is a slightly exaggerated depiction – which they are. In real life surely nobody could be such a serial philanderer as Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) and think that he could get away with it. Or no wife could be as innocent and ignorant of her husband's infidelity as Beth Hardiment (Tamsin Greig). Or no young woman could be quite as lusty and self-assured, wilful and flirtatious as Tamara herself (Gemma Arterton). But no matter the in-your-face nature of the characters makes for a very funny and rather impious movie which just about keeps going over its nearly two hours duration.

    I, like most townies, have sometimes thought that I would enjoy life in the country. The country pub with the fine local ales and fresh food; the country lanes with the birds in the hedgerows; the fresh air and the simple life. What this mental idyll ignores, of course, is just how insular and rejecting of newcomers country communities are. The Hardiments have been in Ewedown, their fictitious Dorset village for twenty years – but they are still seen as parvenu newcomers by the locals. The returning local, Tamara, like her Thomas Hardyesque model Bathsheba in "Far from the Madding Crowd", causes a sensation because of her re-imaging. The ugly duckling has had a nose job and become cosmopolitan – and she even dares to wear the shortest shorts that rural Dorset has surely ever seen! Tamara, like Bathsheba, is torn between three men all of whom desire her. Hardiment of course; Ben Sargeant, a rock band drummer brilliantly played by Dominic Cooper and handsome Andy Cobb who is the archetypal local man with strong arms - the "Gabriel Oak" figure, with a bouquet of "earth, dog, tobacco and engine oil", and who strongly resembles Alan Bates in John Schlesinger's the 1967 "Madding Crowd" film.

    The film pokes gentle fun at the literary world. The Hardiments run a writers' retreat which allows Nicholas to wallow in his fame as a successful writer and requires Beth both to look after him as well to cater for the guests with home baking and other country fare. Key to the unwinding of the plot are two feral local teenage girls, Jody and Casey, who make mischief in an undercover and puckish sort of way. Because of their interference all of the main characters become aware first of Ben's steamy fling with Tamara and then of Nicholas's affair with her. Tamara seems to sail through all of this without too many cares - but she leaves a couple of broken hearts along the way before, predictably, settling for Andy who turns out to have been her childhood love all along. The final scene is dramatic and violent and a rather rough justice is done – not all of the characters lives happily ever after. Indeed arguably none of them emerges unscathed from the story. The film is part romp, part morality tale and part mild social commentary. It is entertaining, well directed by Stephen Frears and is definitely a good promotion for the beauty of the Dorset countryside. The story is an amoral one – certainly by the conventional mores that well-bred country folk might like to assert they follow. But such pomposity and hypocrisy is rather nicely pricked – just like Thomas Hardy once did with his slightly shocking tale of nineteenth century double standards.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm a huge fan of Posy Simmonds and I've been following her career for over twenty years. Her graphic novels richly satirize modern British society. When she published "Gemma Bovery" I was astonished by the book's blend of contemporary social observation and commentary on Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary. While "Gemma Bovery" poked fun at artists and ex pat Brits living in northern France, "Tamara Drewe" exposes life in the British countryside, revealing the conflicts between longtime residents and newcomer second homeowners. The tangled love life of the title character exposes as well the ambitions and tensions of writers while paying tribute to the original source, Thomas Hardy's study of country life, Far from the Madding Crowd.

    When I heard that "Tamara Drewe" was going to be made into a film I was delighted. If I had any worries about the adaption, they were dispelled by the opening sequences which show academic Glen McCreavy overhearing a fight between celebrity writer Nicholas Broadbent and his long suffering wife Beth. It was just like the installments of the graphic novel in the Guardian newspaper had been brought to life. At the start, the screenplay by Moira Buffini makes a few small changes to the development of the story of the now beautiful Tamara's return to her native village, but the changes make the events more cinematic, and the film is paced effectively. Director Stephen Frears expertly transfers the look of the graphic novel and its humor to the screen. The performances are all outstanding, especially Roger Allam as Nicholas, Tamsin Greig as Beth, and Bill Camp as Glen.

    However, the ending isn't as faithful to Simmonds. The graphic novel concludes with two deaths. The first is Nicholas'. The novel shows Tamara expecting him to come to her house after he has his final row with Beth. Nicholas never appears. The visiting writers at his farm find him in the field the next morning. Only later does the novel reveal that Glen had a fight with Nicholas before the cattle stampeded. Furthermore, Glen doesn't kiss Beth in the novel: Nicholas and Glen fight over Glen revealing to Beth that Nicholas didn't leave his previous lover Nadia for the sake of his marriage; Nadia dumped him (Glen learns this when he overhears Nicholas making a begging phone call to his ex). The second death is Jody's. In the novel Jody is found on the same morning dead in her bed, clutching a can of computer cleaner. The verdict of the coroner is that inhaling the cleaner stopped her heart.

    Replacing Jody's death with the death of Ben's dog makes the film lighter. My husband thought that the producers might have changed the ending to avoid having an 18 rating and to avoid controversy over substance abuse. But it means that the film has less edge; also, the book powerfully indicates how the boredom and tedium of life in the village for the local teenagers leads not just to mindless pranks and drinking but also tragedy.

    I wish that the screenplay hadn't ended so neatly with Beth finding solace with Glen and Ben forming a couple with with Jody, as the song played over the credits suggests. I couldn't see why he would be interested in an underage stalker; it looked more like pure wish fulfillment for her.

    Overall I would still recommend the film. However, it is a shame that the movie version of the story has more of the tone of a light farce rather than indicating the sorrow of modern country and celebrity life.
  • freemantle_uk16 September 2010
    British comedy is a strange creature. There are films that are satirical, such as In the Loop, satirical, like Four Lions, to intelligence and dialogue driven, Withnail and I, and films that aim for low key charm, Calendar Girls. Sometimes a film may try and made a number of these features, like the work of Edgar Wright. Based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, Tamara Drewe hits our screens, with Gemma Arterton's profile continuing to increase.

    The village of Ewedown has become a writers retreat, a place for writers to relax, work and chew the fat. Crime novelist Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) and wife Beth (Tasmin Greig) run the place, with an American academic, Glen (Bill Camp (who sounds a lot like William Hurt)) struggling with his book on Thomas Hardy staying with them. In the village two schoolgirls, Jody (Jessica Barden) and Casey (Charlotte Christie) cause havoc and mayhem simply because they are bored. But the village is turned on its head when the attractive journalist Tamara Drewe (Arterton) returns home to sell her out house. She turns heads, including drummer Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper), her old frame Andy (Luke Evans) and Nicholas.

    Writer Moira Buffini and director Stephen Frears make a film with drama and wit, and some moments of out right laughs. Frears was able to inject some style, like when characters speaking when there are on the phone. The humour of the film relies on number of areas, witty comments and observation, physical violence and visual gags. The schoolgirls offer a lot of comedy because many people can empathies with their situation: rural England is not the most exciting place to grow up as a teenager. Their mischief making and thrills about a star in their village compensates Barden lack of confidence as an actress. It is refreshing to characters that do look their age. Frears and Buffini aim to a make a charming comedy, but with more swearing; so trying to have their cake and eat. The two should have tried to make gone one way or the other. Strangely for a film called Tamara Drewe, there are long periods where she is not on the screen or mentioned. There are plots involving Nicholas wayward eyes and the budding relationship between Glen and Beth: walking the fine line of drama and comedy. Tamara Drewe goes from being pretty serious and hits you with a sudden joke and vice versa: working with effect. Tamara Drewe is very British beast, but Glen the American does offer an outsider view and will allow a non-British audience a point-of-view, with few British swears and slang words being used. There are some issues affecting rural England, like rich city flock buying houses and making villages too expensive to live in and boredom for young people: but it is hardly a political piece.

    Whilst some of pacing is a little slow and the film ends up sidetracking at moments, there are strong performances from most of the cast. Atherton shows why she is a raising star, giving Tamara a quick, biting wit. Allam effectively plays a very slimy writer who takes advantage of his wife and he seems to have a nack for playing dislikeable characters (his previous roles have been in V for Vendetta and Speed Racer). Cooper and Evans work well against each other as love rivals for Tamara, with Cooper really understands the part of a pretentious indie musician. Greig too gives a good performance and given her background as a comic actress, she her character is for the most part serious, with moments of witty comments.

    Tamara Drewe is more a gently comedy with small jokes and drama and not a out right laugh fest as the promotion will want you to believe.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Thomas Hardy is not, perhaps, a novelist whom one would normally associate with comedy, fun and hilarity. (He did attempt one comic novel, "The Hand of Ethelberta", but it was a failure even in his own day and today is largely forgotten). "Tamara Drewe", however, based on a long-running cartoon strip in "The Guardian", is described as a modern comic reworking of his "Far from the Madding Crowd". The action takes place in the Dorset countryside and there are a number of Hardy references. One major character has the surname Hardiment and minor ones have characteristically Hardyesque Christian names like "Tess" and "Diggory". One character is an academic working on a critical study of Hardy and the manner in which another meets his death is reminiscent of an incident in "Far from the Madding Crowd".

    The film is set in Ewedown, a fictitious village in Hardy's home county of Dorset. Tamara Drewe, a young and attractive journalist working for "The Independent" and a native of the village, returns home in order to arrange the sale of her late mother's house. (Several of Hardy's novels, notably "The Return of the Native", turn upon a central character revisiting the scenes of their previous life). Tamara corresponds to Bathsheba Everdene in the original novel, and the plot is the story of her love affairs with three men. Andy Cobb, Tamara's former boyfriend from her teenage years and a salt-of-the-earth countryman, is clearly intended as the Gabriel Oak figure, and Ben Sergeant, a charismatic but arrogant and self-obsessed rock star, is equally clearly intended as a modern equivalent of Sergeant Troy. (The Fanny Robin character is Ben's ex-girlfriend Fran, who has left him for a fellow band-member, although she does not come to the tragic end of her literary counterpart).

    This left me wondering who the Boldwood figure would turn out to be. The obvious candidate seemed to be Glen, the shy bachelor American academic, but this was perhaps a bit too obvious. This film was always going to be a tough sell in America, given that there are no big Hollywood names in the cast, that much of the dialogue is in a rustic dialect of British English and that the only American character is middle-aged, balding, bespectacled and physically unattractive. Making the only American character a middle-aged, balding, bespectacled, physically unattractive loser in love, obsessively jealous to the point of homicidal fury, would have made it an absolutely impossible sell. Instead, Tamara's third lover turns out to be Nicholas Hardiment, the successful author of formulaic mystery novels. As Nicholas is just as successful as a womaniser as he is as a writer he does not bear much similarity in character to Hardy's Boldwood, but someone obviously felt that the parallels between film and novel should not become too obvious.

    The script is often sharp and witty with some pertinent observations about life in the English countryside, which, as in Hardy's day, is not always as idyllic as it looks. It touches on topical matters such as the conflicts between local people like Andy and well-off second-home owners, or the lack of opportunities for young people in rural areas. The film is, at times, virtually stolen by the two mischief-making teenage schoolgirls Jody and Casey, brilliantly played by Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie. The girls' main preoccupation in life, apart from sex, is their obsession with the doings of the celebrities about whom they read in glossy magazines. When they discover that Ben, one of their idols, is staying in their area they become obsessed with the idea of getting him into bed, even marrying him. There is also a very good performance from Tamsin Greig as Beth Hardiment, the long-suffering wife of the insufferable Nicholas.

    The reason why the film does not earn a higher mark from me is that some of the characters come across either as caricatures or unbelievable. I found it difficult to accept Roger Allam's Nicholas as a successful serial seducer, as he is so obviously a sleazy, selfish cad that no attractive young woman in her right mind would touch him with a bargepole. Tamara's eagerness to drop her hotpants for him seemed completely incomprehensible. Ben is just as sleazy and selfish as Nicholas, but at least Dominic Cooper lends him a sort of dangerous sexual attractiveness, something in which the rumpled, ageing Nicholas seems completely lacking.

    The title character is played by the strikingly attractive Gemma Arterton, something of a rising star at present, as a sexy, sluttish good-time girl. The film's advertising material was dominated by a photograph of Gemma in an improbably tight pair of denim hotpants; it was therefore difficult to take her seriously when she complained, a few days after the film's opening, that Hollywood only wanted her for her "ass". I couldn't, therefore, really see Tamara, a girl with the looks and personality of a glamour model, as a journalist for the "Independent", a high-minded left-wing broadsheet. (Doubtless the "Indie" wanted the same sort of product placement that its right-wing rival the "Daily Telegraph" achieved when Kate Winslet was cast as a "Torygraph" journalist in "The Holiday"). Gemma Arterton tries so hard to make her character sexy that she forgets to make her sympathetic. If the film-makers were going to turn "Far from the Madding Crowd" into a romantic comedy, they should have realised that one of the rules for a successful rom-com is "Don't Make Your Heroine a Slut". 7/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is pure escapism and the whole cast clearly enjoyed themselves immensely... OK so it's full of stereotypes, says nothing remotely profound about the human condition and the plot is distinctly predictable, but I was left with a smile on my face and a happy feeling at the end when it all turned out OK.

    Gemma Arterton is always worth a watch and its good to see Tamsin Greig getting a decent part as the downtrodden and long suffering wife.

    To be honest the excellent ensemble cast never put a foot wrong and the uncredited English countryside with its contradiction of beauty and rural dullness makes a fine back-drop.

    I never read the Posy Simmonds originals so I care not a jot whether it is true to the serial or not.... this is a fine and entertaining way to spend an evening.

    The two schoolgirls are terrific and really steal the show....

    Shame about the dog though......
  • TAMARA DREWE already had a following from her appearance in the best selling graphic novel by the same name by Posy Simmonds, an so it was probably not too difficult for the talented Stephen Frears to direct a pitch perfect cast to bring the delightful story to the screen. Filled to the brim with excellent actors this strange little story has many levels of meaning, but the main story is very well served.

    Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) was historically a face to forget in the town of Ewedon, but she leaves for the city and plastic surgery and returns with a new nose and facelift that makes her as attractive as any lass in the town. She plays on the talents of married highly successful crime novelist Nicholas (Roger Allam) to polish her writing skills - the cost is an affair that leaves Nicholas ready to divorce his perfect wife (Tamsin Grieg). She also attracts the interest of her childhood solid friend Andy (Luke Evans) and the rather superficial and silly rock star Ben (Dominic Cooper) and eventually, with the running of interference by two loathsome little girls (Charlotte Christie and Jessica Barden), and it all turns out with many surprises! It is a dissection of relationships a la Thomas Hardy and Frears know how to make it all work very well.

    It is always a pleasure to be in the company of fine British actors in a lovely English countryside setting and this is no exception. Everyone in the cast is excellent - and it continues to be a pleasure to watch the very talented Dominic Cooper grow in the challenging roles he assumes. There are many reasons to enjoy this film, and among them is the sheer craftsmanship of the British cinema.

    Grady Harp
  • once again,the British have made a great little independent film.i suppose you could classify it as a dark comedy.it's peopled with motley crew of characters,and brimming with over with deceit duplicity,betrayal,pain and irony.Gemma Arterton portrays the title character,who is at the center of the story.having just seen her in The Disappearance of Alice Creed,(which i also recommend)a totally different kind of film,it's obvious she has talent.the supporting cast is great as well.Stephen Frears(The Queen)directed the film.the film is rated R due to some language and sensuality,but i would have rated it 14A,but parents should use their discretion nonetheless.anyway,for me,'Tamara Drewe' is an 8/10
  • goldchurch21 September 2010
    Unlike the knockers further down, I really rated this film. Some have accused it of being episodic but then all the episodes link up and ... hey thats a plot, isn't it? All the actors are great with the possible exception of Gemma/Tamara herself and she's more of an eye candy/device to bring out the true nature of all the other protagonists anyway. Don' t get me wrong, this isn't a Lawrence of Arabia of the Home Counties and would have arguably been better as a ITV1 mini series with Trevor Eve as the feckless middle aged crimewriter, but it is tight, funny and, I hate to you use the word, NICE. The teenage troublemaking girls I single out for particular praise. My daughter has friends like that. Hopefully, isn't actually like that herself, but then even if she was there would be worse things. Misfits, Skins, a love interest on the Inbetweeners...
  • For me, the BBC Films logo is always a bit of a warning sign. Whilst their films are invariably challenging and technically well-made, they are often either unrelenting grim, or in strangely poor taste.

    Tamara Drewe ticks both of those boxes (the second much more than the first). Overall, the film is little more than a group of shallow clichéd stereotypes, mooching around a rural village and sleeping with each other. It lacks any real depth or insight and cannot be deemed to be truly "worthy commentary". At the same time it is too dark and too sleazy to be palatably humorous either, and yet still does not work as black humour.

    There are so many ways that the film could have been improved - from making some characters believable (the two teenage girls and many of the authors are not) to centring the film around one character or one relationship, and making that the focus. Instead the film wanders aimlessly around, seemingly looking for titillation, and finding it remarkably often.

    To snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in so many ways, Tamara Drewe has really achieved something quite remarkable.

    And a note to non-UK viewers - this is a shallow (and bitter) parody of the UK, quite unlike the bulk of UK-produced films, in fact.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I wasn't sure what to expect when I sat down to watch this; I'd read that it was a comic updating of Thomas Hardy's 'Far From the Madding Crowd' and was curious to see how it would be done… even though my knowledge of the original is limited to a television adaptation. In a Dorset village things are about to change; Tamara Drewe is coming home and this once ugly duckling has had a nose job and become a beautiful swan who quickly catches the eyes of local men. These include former boyfriend Andy and married author Nicholas Hardiment, although the man to catch her is visiting rock star Ben Sergeant. The couple are soon engaged to be married but things go wrong when Jody, a jealous school, girl breaks into Tamara's house and sends out an email from Tamara's account inviting Ben, Andy and Nicolas to come round to her house and have sex! As her engagement collapses she falls into the arms of the older man Nicolas; this relationship doesn't last long though as Jody's friend Casey snaps the two of them together and sends it to his wife. As the end approaches the key question is; who will Tamara end up with? She isn't the only person who will get a new man though.

    I enjoyed this far more than I expected; at first I thought the set up looked like an episode of 'Midsomer Murders' without the murder… but perhaps that isn't a bad thing! Gemma Arteron was a delight as Tamara; I can understand why the men of the village fell for her; especially after seeing her in hot-pants! Other notable performances came from Roger Allam who played Nicolas Hardiment, Tamsin Greig who played his wife Beth and Jessica Barden who played school girl Jody. The story was fun with quite a few laughs and a good set of characters. Some might complain that it is more televisual rather than cinematic but I didn't see that as a problem; I thought the look gave it a pleasantly familiar feel. The story contains nothing too offensive although some may be offended by the swearing and the small amount of fairly innocent nudity.
  • The Independent journalist Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) returns to Dorset, Ewedown, to sell the Winnard Farm that belonged to her deceased mother. Her neighbor Beth Hardiment (Tamsin Greig) runs a writers retreat with her unfaithful and womanizer husband Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) that is a successful writer of the adventures of his alter-ego Inchcombe and cheats Beth every now and then with younger women. Tamara was the sweetheart of the handyman Andy Cobb (Luke Evans), whose family owned the Winnard Farm but lost it to Tamara's family, and she sees him, she rekindles her love for him.

    However, when Tamara travels to interview the unpleasant drummer of the Swipe band Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper), he has just found that his girlfriend Fran is having an affair with the other musician Steven Culley and he breaks up with the band. Tamara and Ben have a love affair and Ben moves to Winnard. Meanwhile, Ben's teenager fan Jody Long (Jessica Barden) and her best friend Casey Shaw (Charlotte Christie) that are bored in Ewedown feel happy with the presence of Ben in the village. When Ben proposes Tamara, they travel to London to spend a couple of days in the big city. Meanwhile the jealous Casey breaks in Tamara's house and uses her computer to send an e-mail pretending to be Tamara that will change the lives of the dwellers and end in a tragedy.

    "Tamara Drewe" is a disappointing heavy-handed romance and comedy by Stephen Frears. The story is too dramatic for a black-humor comedy and too silly for a drama. Most of the characters are obnoxious, specially the annoying Casey and Ben. Gemma Arterton is very beautiful and when she appears wearing small short is something very sexy. Roger Allam is absolutely out of her league and it is difficult to accept and understand her love affair with such unpleasant man. In the end, I did not like this film. My vote is five.

    Title (Brazil): "O Retorno de Tamara" ("The Return of Tamara")
  • Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave this 4 stars (Friday 10th September 2010), Cosmo Landesman gave it 2 out of 5 in the Sunday Times.

    I am with with Cosmo and fear some relationship between The Guardian and the film makers. This film was poorly scripted, had facile characters, a random plot and worst of all, wasn't very funny, failing to tickle the funny bone of my 16 year old and his two middle-aged parents.

    I was expecting something akin to the TV version of 'Cold Comfort Farm', (also Frears?) This was not it....

    Was it ironic? A comedy of manners? A satire on city types in the country? A wry commentary on how a Hardy-esquire take on the Archers might play out?

    Who knows, a wasted opportunity.
  • rowlandy8 September 2010
    This was showing at the NFT in London. After the movie, the cast and director came on stage for a Q&A. I had no idea what this movie was going to be about other than it was based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds (whose work I had not seen or read).

    The beautiful scenery didn't sit well with the unfolding story. There was no character that you could like or identify with. You either felt sorry or disgusted by them and that included the main character, Tamara Drewe. I didn't understand why the characters behaved as they did.

    "Delightful" or a "feel good movie" this is not. The main theme of this movie is that it's not only writers that are "thieves and liars", but this is the general state of people today.
  • 'TAMARA DREWE': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

    Stephen Frears (director of such well respected films as 'THE QUEEN', 'DANGEROUS LIAISONS', 'THE GRIFTERS' and one of my all time favorite films 'HIGH FIDELITY') directs this British fluff comedy film. It's written by Moira Buffini and based on a graphic novel (of the same name, which was a newspaper comic strip re-published as a graphic novel) by Posy Simmonds. The comic strip was inspired by author Thomas Hardy's nineteenth century novel 'Far from the Madding Crowd' (the film further makes this significant by having a character write a book about Hardy). The stunningly beautiful Gemma Arterton stars in the title role (you may remember Arterton from such blockbuster films as 'QUANTUM OF SOLACE', 'CLASH OF THE TITANS' and 'PRINCE OF PERSIA').

    The film revolves around the once 'unusual looking' Tamara who received a nose job and now returns to the village where she grew up, Ewedown (a fictitious place said to be located in Dorset, England), to sell her deceased mother's house. She's now of course the subject of every man's desire including an ex fling named Andy (Luke Evans), a famous writer she used to have a crush on named Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) and a famous touring musician named Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper). She initially is drawn to Ben but when one of Ben's young teen fans Jody (Jessica Barden) meddles in their affairs Nicholas sees an opportunity to sweep in and win the girl over. This is especially troublesome because Nicholas is married to a loyal and loving wife named Beth (Tamsin Greig) who he runs a writer's school with.

    The film is full of clichés and predictable slapstick mishaps but it does have a certain charm and is well crafted to a certain extent. Arterton shines in the film and of course looks beautiful but her character is a little too unlikeable to be the lead heroine in this type of film (for my taste). I do like the flawed hero but the film almost seems like it overlooks her misdoings and wants us to forgive her for her selfishness without her learning from her mistakes possibly just because she was once despised because of her looks, or something of that nature. Another problem I had with the film is the dominant glaring message that if you're seen as unattractive and life has got you down all's you have to do is fix your appearance, to that of what people prefer, and everything will work out for you. While one could argue that this is true it's not a message that should be so simplistically shoved in the viewers' faces. I also expected a lot more from Frears, the film pales in comparison to the quality of his greatest works. The film is amusing but just that.

    Watch our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd0S1srQ9T8
  • fw828 January 2011
    I went to see this film with my wife after it got recommended to me from a mate of mine.

    Nice movie with a brilliant, humorous and sarcastic story line that was surprisingly refreshing. Convincing actors that come across truthful in a witty plot.

    Have to admit that British sense of humour is kind of special and most of the time tongue-in- cheek, especially for German viewers.

    Saw this one in German, but will definitely try to get the English original version someday and watch that, too.

    Absolutely recommendable if you are looking for great and tasteful entertainment on a Saturday night (out with your gf or wife as well ... )
  • melina-a20 September 2010
    Thought this film was brilliant. Loved the Plot and the fact that it was an English film with a practically entire English cast, very funny and a lovely little Rom Com. Definitely a MUST see! Gemma Arteton was amazing as an actress again, as were the rest of the cast. I thought the 'typical' English country village setting was lovely and appropriate and not 'dribble' at all as some would say on the reviews. All in all it would seem that those who say it is a rubbish film are in their middle ages and clearly do not understand the essence of a good film, unlike the younger generation such as myself. Honestly a brilliant film by the BBC, hopefully there will be more of this kind to follow!
  • galahad58-112 February 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    This could possible be one of the worse, if not the worse, movie to come out this past year. The story of the ugly duckling coming home looking like a princess had it's intent and heart ripped apart by a bad production, bad direction and a horrible script. Tamara Drewe returns to town after finding success and having a nose job. You are supposed to care about this woman, but she is nothing more than a shallow slut who destroys everything and everyone around her. The adulterous neighbor is annoying and a waste of time and effort. Only the American novelist looking to find his way has a worthy performance and gives you a character to care about in any way, shape or form. A horrible movie.
  • BenAordure12 August 2010
    The storyboard is about loves stories, I'd rather say love affairs, in a lovely English countryside village.

    At the menu, we get an entertaining set of stories and characters, a bit of psychology about the difficulty to find the matching and deserving lover, about the aged people problems, we got also some English humor...

    This makes a tasty meal. Yet this is definitely not the movie of the year. But I had a pleasant time watching this, even if I found myself sometimes wanting the movie to speed a little up. Good to watch if you want something entertaining but different from Hollywood action-movies.
  • "Tamara Drewe" could be this year's "Sideways" sleeper with a British accent and wider demographic appeal. Key to the story arc is a pair of digitally-savvy teens with a crush on an oddly-charismatic indie band drummer. His eye is on a "suddenly attractive" blogger-journalist, wooed as well by a hunk-of-all-trades and a serially-unfaithful middle-aged novelist whose forgiving wife quietly orchestrates his success. The action is set on the couple's small organic animal farm which doubles as a writer's retreat for true characters at a loss to create any on a page. The plot easily accommodates a love pentangle, social networking, domestic strife, celebrity culture and teen rebellion while staying true to its droll heart. Far from Hollywood's romantic/bromantic comedies, the humor here comes from dry wit and subtle class friction, instead of gross punch lines and pratfalls. What bathroom humor there is here actually requires a water-closet. The relatively unknown, multi-generational and perfect-pitch cast creates an unlikely ensemble without a hint of over-acting or scene-stealing. If the film strove for significance or belly laughs, it would widely miss the mark on both scores. Beautifully shot, invisibly directed and edited, the only thing lacking might be a snappier title for non-British audiences. But true to its source material -- the Posy Simmonds-penned, Guardian-run comic strip turned graphic novel of the same name -- "Tamara Drewe' totally fills the big screen without trying to be anything but its quirky self.
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