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Tamara Drewe
  • Alternative view 1 of Tamara Drewe
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Tamara Drewe

Director: Stephen Frears, Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Bill Camp

Cast: Stephen Frears, Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Bill Camp

 

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Stephen Frears directed this comedy drama about an ugly duckling who's followed by a handful of suitors after maturing into a sexy swan. Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) was born and raised in Ewedown, a quiet community on the outskirts of London dominated by a writer's colony run by Nicholas Hardiment (

Overview

Stephen Frears directed this comedy drama about an ugly duckling who's followed by a handful of suitors after maturing into a sexy swan. Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) was born and raised in Ewedown, a quiet community on the outskirts of London dominated by a writer's colony run by Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), a best-selling novelist who specializes in crime fiction, and his wife Beth (Tamsin Greig). When Tamara left Ewedown, she was a plain and awkward teenager, but when she returns home for the first time in years, the locals are surprised to discover that time (and a nose job) have turned her into an attractive and alluring woman, and she's gained a share of money and fame thanks to a successful newspaper column. Tamara has returned to Ewedown after the death of her mother in order to refurbish the family home and put it on the market. Before long, Tamara finds herself pursued by three men from her past -- Andy Cobb (Luke Evans), her former boyfriend who has been hired to help fix up the house; Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper), the swaggering drummer with a local indie rock band flirting with larger success; and Nicholas (Roger Allam), who is chronically unfaithful to his wife and sees an opportunity with the neighborhood girl who was infatuated with him in her teens. Tamara Drewe was adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Posy Simmonds, which was in turn inspired by Thomas Hardy's novel Far From the Madding Crowd.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Thomas Wolfe famously wrote, "You can't go home again," but despite the very real wisdom behind that bittersweet thought, it's never stopped folks from trying it anyway, especially if they think they can impress the folks who disregarded them way back when. The latest film from British director Stephen Frears, Tamara Drewe, is an enjoyably farcical comedy with some dramatic shadings about a woman who finds herself returning to her hometown after a long spell away, and while the film's light touch and steady tempo keep it frothy, it's also an amusing but sometimes pointed meditation on the perils of small-town life, where everyone has a past and no one has secrets for long. Tamara Drewe is set in Ewedown, a rural community outside London quiet enough that people take notice when a taxi drives through town. Ewedown has one celebrity, Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), a writer who has published a successful series of crime novels and runs a literary retreat out of his home with the help of his wife, Beth (Tamsin Greig). Nicholas, who possesses a certain smarmy charm, uses his low-level fame to pursue women, while Beth, who is pretty but far too domestic for her own good, usually looks the other way as she tends to her baking and raises her chickens. One day, an attractive young woman arrives in Ewedown and moves into a rattletrap house that's seen better days. Many of the locals are surprised to learn that the new arrival is Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton), who moved away from Ewedown some time ago. When Tamara was a teenager, she was gawky, a bit overweight, and had a huge nose that earned her the nickname "Beaky." However, a bit of plastic surgery and some time at the gym has made all the difference -- the new Tamara is sexy, confident, and clever, and as a successful reporter covering celebrity news for a major London paper, she can boast some literary fame of her own. Tamara has come back to Ewedown after the death of her mother; she's inherited the family home, and she wants to fix it up and put it on the market. When it doesn't sell right away, though, Tamara ends up moving in, and soon she's sharing her home with Ben (Dominic Cooper), a handsome but arrogant rock star. But Ben's not the only one interested in Tamara; Andy (Luke Evans), who dated Tamara back when she had her real nose, still carries a torch for her, even though he's making his way back into a respectable career after spending some time in prison for wholesaling marijuana, and Tamara also attracts Nicholas' wandering eye, as he recalls how she was infatuated with him as a teenager. Meanwhile, Jody (Jessica Barden) is a 15-year-old with an overactive imagination who's infatuated with Ben, and with the help of her friend Casey (Charlotte Christie), she hatches a plan to break up the couple, until she decides it would be nice having him in town and she attempts to reverse the process. Tamara Drewe was adapted from a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, and sometimes the film's narrative and pacing make it feel a bit too much like the wrong sort of comic book. For all the intelligence of the characters and the skill of the cast that brings them to life, most of what happens in Tamara Drewe is a bit silly, and the narrative devices that move things forward often seem forced and hard to believe (especially one key scene involving a herd of dairy cows). However, while Moira Buffini's screenplay doesn't always do well with the story, the characters are better drawn and the dialogue is often witty and well crafted. Of course, this film would never work if the actress playing Tamara couldn't communicate her beauty and charm, but Gemma Arterton's turn in the title role is all but flawless, capturing Tamara's smarts and spunk along with her vulnerability, and she makes Tamara a rounded character that you can't help but like despite her beauty (and she's a hoot in the flashback sequences with a sizable prosthetic schnoz). Roger Allam is appropriately slimy as the outwardly charming and inwardly reprehensible Nicholas, and Tamsin Greig is all the more impressive as his much put-upon wife, who isn't as dim as he thinks. Jessica Barden is also quite funny as a bored and lovesick teenager looking for kicks. The film looks great, and Ben Davis is to be applauded for his excellent camerawork, while the production design makes Ewedown look like a place worth visiting. Director Stephen Frears works well with his cast and keeps the story moving with enough momentum to roll over the script's rough spots; in many respects Tamara Drewe is lightweight entertainment, but it never feels less than intelligent. The level of craft, imagination, and comic expertise makes Tamara Drewe playful entertainment with a brain in its head, and given the rarity of that combination these days, smart popcorn entertainment is always to be valued.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/08/2011
UPC:
0043396369078
Original Release:
2010
Rating:
R
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
68,542

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gemma Arterton Tamara Drewe
Roger Allam Nicholas Hardiment
Bill Camp Glen McCreavy
Dominic Cooper Ben Sergeant
Luke Evans Andy Cobb
Tamsin Greig Beth Hardiment
Jessica Barden Jody Long
Charlotte Christie Casey Shaw
James Naughtie Interviewer
John Bett Diggory
Josie Taylor Zoe
Bronagh Gallagher Eustacia
Pippa Haywood Tess
Susan Wooldridge Penny Upminster
Amanda Lawrence Mary
Zahra Ahmadi Nadia Patel
Cheryl Campbell Lucetta
Alex Kelly Jody's Mum
Emily Bruni Caitlin
Lola Frears Poppy Hardiment
Tom Allen Vintner
Patricia Quinn Posh Hippy
Walter Hall Army Geek
Joel Fry Steve Culley
Lois Winstone Fran Redmond
Nathan Cooper 'Swipe' Band Member
Benjamin Todd 'Swipe' Band Member
Albert Clark Boss the Dog

Technical Credits
Stephen Frears Director
Maya Amsellem Executive Producer
Mick Audsley Editor
Consolata Boyle Costumes/Costume Designer
Moira Buffini Screenwriter
Ben Davis Cinematographer
Alexandre Desplat Score Composer
Hannah Farrell Associate Producer
Sharon Harel Executive Producer
Sam Knox-Johnston Production Manager
Christine Langan Executive Producer
Alan Macdonald Production Designer
Alison Owen Producer
Daniel Phillips Makeup
Eve Schoukroun Executive Producer
Tracey Seaward Producer
Paul Trijbits Producer
Faye Ward Associate Producer

Scene Index

The making of Tamara Drewe; Reconstrucing Tamara Drewe; Commentary with Gemma Arterton and Luke Evans

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