Film Only Review:
Tamara Drew (Gemma Arterton) grew up in a small and quiet village in Dorset called Ewedown. Now a high flying journalist she has to go back to the home she grew up in from London to clear it out and get it ready for sale as her Mum has died.
We soon learn via flashbacks that she wasn't the prettiest girl in the village and had a passionate relationship with Andy (Luke Evans) who now helps out at the writers retreat of which Beth (Tasmin Greig) and her husband Nicholas (Roger Allam) run..... well Beth does all the running around keeping the guests happy and Nicholas is either having affairs with much younger women than his wife and is a pompous, pious git to be blunt about it.
Its clear from the start that Andy still likes Tamara and probably didn't split up with her for the right reasons, he's now doing up her house for sale, in the meantime Tamara meets 'rock star' Ben (Dominic Cooper) who she is at the venue to interview and seduces him to a relationship and gets her man. In the meantime Andy is left unimpressed and two young ladies have their eyes on Ben as they are superfans of his and nothing every happens in the village and they near on stalk him and create merry hell within his personal life.
Beth and Nicolas seem to getting on alright after she rumbles yet another affair but her suspicions are once again apparent but who this time is he having an affair with?.......and Tamara is in the frame as she's suddenly been dumped...
The setting for the film and the music is great and I liked the way that this was a plod along movie that didn't drag its heels too much and held my interest right up until the end but then bam the film got very busy with an affair rumbled, a man dead, someone who could be done for murder and me wondering will Beth ever get her happy ending with an American writer who retreats to her place often and obviously has a soft spot for her who suddenly is harbouring a secret of his own.
What I didn't like was slapper Tamara to be honest. Ok she was needy and references to her past were slightly touched upon which could of contributed to her being a selfish, heartless any man grabbing....I am lost for words here lol. I couldn't find any sympathy within me for this character and the ending I was gutted about...she's just a woman that always gets what she wants and not in a pleasant way.
The acting was good for me I hated the Ben and Nicholas's characters as totally selfish, self obsessed men however that was there point so well done to them!
I feel that more emphasise could have been given to Tamara's childhood so we as an audience could understand her more but overall a one watch film that left me with no long lasting opinion! It was simply so so!
Rated 15 and with a runtime of 106 minutes.
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
The first thing that should be said that this is a comedy, so needs to be judged on laughs and not much else. In this sense, it is fairly good. Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gives it 4 out of 5 stars. I did not laugh aloud once during the film - but I'm not your typical laugher. However, I did find it entertaining and, though the plot goes a bit ropey and ridiculous in the climax, it just about holds together and finishes well.
I would not buy the DVD but if it comes online (legally, of course) or available to rent, and you're a fan of light comedy based on pomposity, petty feuding, philandering and middle-class Englishness, then this will past an hour or two quite nicely. Quite superficial but entertaining.
The film is based at a writer's retreat in the English countryside, in Dorset. The retreat is owned by a successful writer and is run by his wife and a farm-hand. At the very start, the polite respectability that we might expect from the film is undermined as the successful author is revealed to be having an affair. He promptly ends this when challenged by his submissive wife but the tone of the film is set. Tamara Drewe follows the antics of men chasing women around this remote country village; efforts of secrecy are futile with bored schoolgirls spying from behind walls and farm-hands wandering into 'empty' houses.
The story is based on a newspaper cartoon strip which, itself, is based on Thomas Hardy's novel, Far From the Madding Crowd.
The stars of the show, in my opinion, are not the headline actors, Gemma Arterton, playing the post-nose plastic surgery journalist returning to the village to execute the sale of a family property, nor Dominic Cooper, the eye-liner wearing rock drummer whose wild antics and out-of-control dog cause quite a stir in the village when he moves in with Tamara.
No, for me, the real stars are two men who play authors. One is a Peter Hitchens look-alike, a successful author and owner of the retreat played by Roger Allam. The other is his hapless nemesis, an American professor staying at the retreat who is trying to finish his "opus" on Thomas Hardy (played by Bill Camp). The two men have more than ideological differences. Not only is Allam's pompous author a sneerer of academic writing but he is also a man of action; he mimes bazookering cows and chases young women right under his wife's nose. The professor, Glen, with his fear of cows and general weediness, can only dream of realising his secret passions.
Their occasional spars, sometimes occuring in passing in the midst of fields, is very amusing. In one fleeting exchange, we witness in the smug superiority of the novelist and the bitterness of his unpublished academic counterpart. Their contest develops through the film - and, though it becomes less funny as it becomes more "serious", is still entertaining.
I should mention the two actresses who play the prying schoolgirls. They play their roles with confidence and humour. In particular, the 'lead' schoolgirl, whose infatuation with Dominic Cooper's character leads the film into its more far-fetched moments, does so with tremendous self-belief and wit.
The farm hand who was a young lover of Tamara is a bit of a bore. He plays a 2-D man of the fields who spends a lot of time gazing wistfully up at Tamara's house - when he isn't building fences or slaughtering geese. His surliness is irritating and there's not much to him except a vague backstory about a graphics business that went awry.
The plot gets a bit entangled in its love triangles. Everyone is after Tamara, it seems, and quite a few are after the owner's wife and the schoolgirl is after Dominic Cooper and all this has to be resolves to some extent. It is sorted out in quite a ridiculous manner but, it was only a comedy.
Only one reason for watching this movie- Gemma Arterton. It was not a disappointment in that aspect, but as a movie, a bit of a drag.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
It's very hard to write a review about something you've just watched but after watching do not know at all what just happened, but I'll try my best.
Infamous for getting a nose job, Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) returns to her hometown since her mother died and plans to sell the house, in doing so stirs up trouble in the otherwise quiet village.
Whilst this may be what they want you to think the movie is about, this is what the movie truly is: Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) looking hot in hotpants, looking hot in a tight top, looking hot topless, looking hot in the bath, looking hot topless again, with two bored schoolgirls, a hot drummer, a adulterous writer, a lovelorn farmer/builder and an American writer shoved into the mix. Well, who's complaining?
If we read really deeply though, this whole movie is all about Tamara's identity and her character- not just looking hot. The way she deals with people and events, her avoidance of her true feelings and the ways in which she distracts herself reveals a broken character which comes out- a longing for love, fatherhood and freedom.
However, as you'd expect the movie to reach some sort of climax, it doesn't get dramatic enough and kind of plateaus off into an almost too definitive of an ending which doesn't work for me. I feel with these sort of movies it needs to leave it hanging or provide a sense of passage that life goes on and the cycle repeats itself- due to the fact that there are undertones of tragedy (always mentioning Hardy) and so on.
Gemma Arterton- Tamara Drewe
Dominic Cooper- Ben Sergeant
Luke Evans- Andy Cobb
Also stars Roger Allam, Bill Camp, Tamsin Greig and Jessica Barden.
Gemma Arterton was fabulous as Tamara- a real slut- looking amazing in every shot, though she really isn't helping herself get typecast as the 'babe', thankfully this should be her last true 'babe' movie for a while with Hansel and Gretal Witch Hunters to be her next movie.
The DVD can be purchased for just under £10 online and in stores.
To be completely honest, I don't think I managed to appreciate the beauty that this film was supposed to be, but I can appreciate the beauty that is Gemma Arterton. Thankfully, this two hour movie had plenty of her to ease the boredom of the rest. Though one scene did shock me a bit when a certain accident occurs with cows (won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet).
Title: Tamara Drewe
Director: Stephen Frears
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans, Roger Allam, Tamsin Greig
Duration: 114 mins
YOU CAN'T ENJOY THE COUNTRYSIDE WITHOUT GETTING A LITTLE DIRTY!
Tamara Drewe is based on a graphic novel. But don't worry it's not the sort of bloody violence and death type of graphic novel. Tamara Drewe is adapted from a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds who apparently had a regular column in a broadsheet newspaper featuring Ms Drewe.
The action is set in a Dorset village and mostly focuses on the inhabitants of a writer's retreat run by dowdy Beth (Tamsin Greig) and her philandering crime novelist husband Nicholas, (Roger Allam).
Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) is the geeky teenager-turned-sex-bob-omb who used to live in the village but moved away to the big smoke to become a music journalist. She is back home to sell her dead mother's house. She doesn't seem too worried about her mother being dead. But she does like shagging rock-stars that she interviews such as Ben (Dominic Cooper) and ex-boyfriends such as Andy (Luke Evans) who now works as a part-time gardener, part-time handyman and full time hunk, or blokes she has crushes on when she was a kid such as Nicholas.
Sounds fun doesn't it? Well it's not, it's bloody mindnumbingly boring and no one is more upset about this than me. I've been enjoying the performances and curves of Ms Gemma Arterton since her early roles in Three And Out and I'm disappointed to see her in this limply-written, by-the-numbers-directed junk. Which is a surprise as Stephen Frears is normally excellent.
One of the biggest annoyances must be the inclusion of teen troublemakers Jody (Jessica Barden) and Casey (Charlotte Christie) who are always causing trouble for Tamara and fantasising about being with Ben - the drummer from boy band Swipe. They are irksome in the extreme. Not bad young actors though. Greig and Allam put in good performances and have a little more to work with than most of the actors as far as their characters are concerned. Evans and Cooper don't really do much but look hunky and dumb.
I could have done without watching almost two hours of this rubbish. Obviously with across-the-board top reviews I was expecting too much.
"ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR" - DAILY MAIL
"BRITISH HUMOUR AT IT'S VERY BEST" - RED
"FANTASTIC FUN" - THE OBSERVER
"BEWITCHINGLY FUNNY" - NEWS OF THE WORLD
I'm not sure what the other reviewers were watching. Perhaps I was watching something different by mistake? I wish I had.
But hey maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I watched it in the wrong frame of mind. Perhaps Tamara Drewe really is a satirical, sharp, witty drama/ rom-com.
Who knew Gemma Arterton could stir up so much trouble? She was hardly memorable in "Quantum of Solace," her "voice of exposition" roles in "Clash of the Titans" and "Prince of Persia" hardly noted anything strong from the actress. But with "Tamara Drewe," the calm, peaceful English countryside is about to find out just how much sexual energy of Arterton and her past, juicy history can disturb their otherwise perfectly quiet village in Dorset, England. A village that is so famous for its tranquility that some authors, even quite famous ones, seek the place out to get down to serious writing.
She's a nice looking journalist who grew up in this tiny neighbourhood. And yes, she does wear a ridiculously short pair of hot-pants. But why is it, that when she returns briefly to sell her father's house, so many men are falling over her? First of all, there's Andy (Luke Evans), her childhood sweetheart who clearly has never stopped loving her. Sure he manages to get a quick shag with the attractive bartender of the local pub but the hunky handyman of the village cannot stop staring at her. Tamara however, is at first more than busy hooking up with an attractive drummer Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper) from a relatively famous band. There is passion alright, and Andy is not too impressed when he hears them grunting, screaming, and moaning in bed. But is Ben the right one? There is another man who comes into play. Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), a popular crime novel author (who also happens to be married), who had an affair with Tamara a long time ago. Nicholas is the kind of man who would say yes to anything that is younger than this wife, Beth (Tasmin Greig). And even when the audience first meets him, he is so busy covering up his affair with a young, attractive lady that we immediately feel sorry for the wife.
There are multiple points of view when looking at the rather stunning countryside. Absolutely no one in the film knows what the hell is going on. We know the significance of Tamara, but the remaining villagers don't. As they unknowingly walk into relationship disaster, we are supposed to sit back and enjoy the hysterical events that lead to some of the most unexpected consequences. There is so much black humour that even in the most serious moments of the film "Tamara Drewe" is not a film that ceases to be funny for the sake of making any of the events more dramatic. There is adultery, betrayal, treachery, some wildly unconvincing scheming, and a set of love lines that seem like a triangle to start with but quickly turns into more of a pentagon. It's never too convoluted, and director Stephen Frears makes sure there aren't too many faces in front of the camera that could make us overwhelmed.
Connected to all these twisted, unusual occurrences are a couple of mischievous teenagers Jody and Casey (Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie) who are bored out of their mind in this repetitive, tiny little village and are up to absolutely no good whatsoever. Tamara's return to the village might have shocked some people and brought back some past memories and feelings, but the real drama surfaces when these two children knowingly set up the village adults against one another. Their methods are far-fetched and slightly absurd, but for the sake of being a plot device, a lot of it is forgivable, mostly due to the fact that their actions bring about so much hysterical comedy. And just what is the cause of their wickedness? Jody is obsessed with Ben Sergeant, and cannot stand the thought that Tamara is the one sleeping with her idol. She's only 15, but it doesn't matter. Her fantasies are disturbing, but even more worrying is the fact that the concept is not so far from home, judging by how some of the fan girls react when they get a glimpse of the "Twilight" actors.
It may be hard to feel any sympathy for this "home-wrecker" who goes around sleeping with any available, willing men that she can find but this is where Arterton's likability comes into play. She is definitely not your ordinary sexy Hollywood babe, but she certainly has a pleasant aura around her that makes her instantly likable. Her confidence and strong will are both well covered by the young, talented actress and although Tamara is a successful journalist when she returns, she still has that schoolgirl naïveté that is shown to us in flashback sequences. This is the first film where Arterton finally gets across the feeling that she is in fact, a competent leading lady.
Even better is the rest of the cast. There isn't a single actor or actress who seems out of place and it ranges from the usual Brit favourites (Allam, Greig, Cooper) to the less well known names (Evans, Barden, Christie) who all do wonders. The pitch-perfect performances are responsible for the outstanding comedy as well as some incredibly stirring moments. Allam and Greig do tend to stand out: Allam as the sneaky, cheating, pretentious but oddly hysterical writer and Greig as the long-suffering wife whose stillness can portray an impressive range of effective emotions. Evans and Cooper are not used merely as eye-candies but as crucial members in Tamara's life who each promises something different. Cooper is the classic bad-boy drummer with dark make-up and messy hair, whereas Evans is the more reliable one, and also "the one that got away" for Tamara.
"Tamara Drewe" is an incredibly modern, refreshing English film. There is a not-so-inaccurate preconception that films from the UK tend to be more heavy-handed and therefore more challenging to watch and fully absorb and engage in. But with a script that is packed with sly, wicked humour and a cast to die for, Stephen Frears' latest is an immensely rewarding one, although a tad soapy, but enjoyable nonetheless. It is a very modest production, in that there is nothing sparkling or glamourous that makes up its atmosphere. The frowned-upon sins of envy and lust are packaged with vibrant energy, stellar performances and pretty images of the soothing English countryside. It's a low-key but hugely effective film that deserves to be seen.