They say comedy is the most difficult genre in film and that the Brits are best at it. Tamara Drewe, the newly released film based on the popular comic strips by Posy Simmonds and on Moira Buffini ‘s screenplay certainly bears witness to this.
Veteran British director Stephen Frears has obviously thoroughly enjoyed making this English countryside romp whose plot may lack depth and use many a cliche’ but more than makes up for it by sheer entertainment and the pitch-perfect timing of a hand picked cast: Gemma Arterton plays the lead role of Tamara Drewe, who returns to her small home town having reinvented herself thanks to the help of plastic surgery and a glamorous job as a music hack. The slightly promiscuously inclined ingenue falls for the narcissistic rock-star Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper) and has a short fling with the philandering writer Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) who heads a local writer ‘s retreat the purpose of which is solely to prep up his ego while his wife Beth (Tamsin Greig) has to suffer the humiliation of her husband ‘s constant adultery. Enter Tamara ‘s ex-boyfriend Andy (Luke Evans) who seems to still hold genuine feelings for her. Not to be missed: the two scene-stealing teenage girls Jody and Casey (Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie) in full blown puberty and blessed with memorable dialogue gems.
It is, however, the countryside in its ruthless portrayal that holds centre stage: a far cry from the romantic and Rousseau inspired notion that city-residents often have, the people of this rural village are intricately caught in a web of intrigue, conspiracy, resentment, jealousy and sexual lust all of which are the result of infinite boredom, the film ‘s real achievement is to highlight this with wit and subtle understatement.
By Reya von Galen