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Film Studies 101
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

Gemma Arterton
Tamsin Greig
Roger Allam
Dominic Cooper
Bill Camp
Luke Evans.
Stephen Frears.
Moira Buffini.
Running Time
111 minutes

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Tamara Drewe
Sex and shenanigans in Hardy country

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When journalist Tamara (Arterton) returns home to bucolic Ewedown, Dorset, having made good and having had a nose job, her arrival sets off a tsunami of gossip, lust and jealousy in admirers including local hunk Andy Cobb (Luke Evans), rock star Ben Sergeant (Cooper) and novelist Nicholas Hardiment (Allam).

Tamara Drewe
There's a suitably chucklesome opening to this smart comic fable of follies — adapted by Moira Buffini from the Posy Simmonds graphic novel very loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd. At a writers’ retreat in Hardy country a group of aspiring authors perch around house and garden penning projects in a multiplicity of genres. Each of them is neatly sketched in individual voiceovers of their paragraphs in progress.

From here there are multiple points of view in which none of the characters know what we know, apart from a keen Hardy scholar (unsung American actor Bill Camp, outstanding as the observer of events). All one can do is sit back and enjoy the foolishness unfolding and heading towards catastrophe.

Gorgeous, pouting Gemma Arterton’s Tamara is a columnist for The Independent (in which the film was defensively tagged an “Aga saga”, although only one character, Beth, Tamsin Greig’s long-suffering wife of Nicholas, sets foot in a country kitchen to do any cooking), but Miss Drewe doesn’t seem to do much work, so busy is she exercising her sexual confidence and emotional confusion. The muscular yokel who was her childhood sweetheart blew it in their youth so he’s out. Isn’t he? Roger Allam’s pompous crime writer in mid-life crisis doesn’t stand a chance. Does he? Still, he yearns and ogles away while Tamara’s “interview” with Dominic Cooper’s bad boy musician swiftly turns into a bonk-fest and improbably blissful co-habitation in the country, as long as Tam obligingly defers to the petulant popster’s monstrous ego.

This development brings to centre stage Ewedown’s two most bored teenagers, Jody and Casey (Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie), whose mischief-making ascends to a new level of malevolence when celeb-obsessed Jody discovers her idol and fantasy future husband living under her nose and Tamara’s roof. Never mind hell having no fury like a woman scorned. It’s the 15 year-old stalkers one should be really worried about.

While not particularly noted for mirth, director Stephen Frears is more alert than many would have been to the inherent social comment and darker aspects of the goings-on. He lets the wicked turns and dialogue do their job without semaphoring, “This bit’s going to be funny.” It’s all the wittier, and at times downright touching, for not being done too tongue-in-cheek.

Think The Archers with a sprinkling of trendier folk and a lot more shagging. Very intelligently funny, with stellar performances.

Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Average user rating for Tamara Drewe
Empire Star Rating



Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisdagnall at 18:15, 20 April 2011 | Report This Post


....for the film and an extra star for Gemma's arse - very easy on the eye. I'll be honest - this film is not exactly my cup of tea - and nor is it a great advert for country life. But still - if you buy into the characters - stereotypes one and all - there's some decent entertainment value to be had.....and did I mention Gemmas arse????.....oh yeah ....I did....... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:07, 01 October 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Average Stuff

Hmmm OK this judging by all the reviews & tv ad was supposed to be one of the most hysterical films of the year in reality just another film about upper class twats arsing about in the country WHY it got 4*s i'll never know why is it were told this is good because of the great british actors & director but a film like Grown Ups which has no pretention about itself were told "OH THIS IS BAD!". TELL YOU WHAT I'D RATHER SEE A FILM THAT DOESN'T TAKE ITSELF SO SERIOUSLY & AC... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 09:54, 18 September 2010 | Report This Post

Average Stuff

Saw this last night. I know Empire has a remit to trumpet any English movie but this is not a good one. Despite the beautiful surroundings the movie is only very occasionally funny, far too long(could have lost 20mins easily and been much better for it) and the plot contrived beyond necessity. Furthermore, though pretty, Gemma Arterton has very little to actually do in this film by way of acting. She spends more time gazing at people than engaging with them and 'Tamara' is not terribly pleasant... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Herbert Lom at 11:08, 17 September 2010 | Report This Post

thoughtful and entertaining

Clever stuff this and it is important that we move on past Gemma Arterton's arse and actually talk about the film. It is a darkly comic character study set in the glory of the English countryside. Some lovely performances and a story that draws you in while not letting you predict quite where it is going. Although this will be on TV before too long, it bears watching because it has depth and does not go for cheap easy laughs. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 00:46, 11 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Gemma Arterton + shorts

From the clips I've seen this looks like a load of arse. In a good way. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 14:40, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Gemma Arterton + shorts

Looks well done, but... I have no idea who wants to see this movie. A rural British country movie has no appeal to me what so ever. Maybe if I found Atterton attractive it might be different, but I don't. I can't believe anyone put money up for this. ... More

Posted by elzupasmonkey at 23:24, 09 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Gemma Arterton + shorts

If you liked the book, its a pretty good adaptation... I think the problem lies in whether people will see it as a poke at the middle classes, or take it as a twee Americanised view of the english countryside... That said, the performances were great, its very watchable in a cheeky but obvious way... its an enjoyable night out, but if you'd rather see Stephen Frear's direct a 'Saw' movie, then its probably not for you. ... More

Posted by andyswright at 10:39, 09 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Gemma Arterton + shorts

Oh dear and it has the girl out of blackbooks in it, so I am going to be doubly pissed its rubbish ... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 01:15, 09 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Gemma Arterton + shorts

I sat through a test screening of this last night with 5 other people and we all agreed it was utter rubbish. Very loosely thrown together and thin on comedy if any at all. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PerfectlyFlawed at 15:51, 08 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Gemma Arterton + shorts

Frears is so up and down, so this could go either way.   A good cast, hopefully Gemma Arterton finally has the role to recapture her brillant television form. ... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 01:25, 08 September 2010 | Report This Post

Gemma Arterton + shorts

(I'm sure the film is good also...) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Lemure at 18:18, 07 September 2010 | Report This Post

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