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CANNES 2010 Out of Competition / UK

Tamara Drewe: a bucolic Stephen Frears has lost none of his bite


Tamara Drewe: a bucolic Stephen Frears has lost none of his bite

Belly laughs rocked the press screening for Tamara Drewe [+see also:
interview: Stephen Frears
film profile
, Stephen Frears’s film adaptation of Posy Simmonds’ comic strip and graphic novel, which screened out of competition at Festival di Cannes.

With his sassy, sarcasm-coated bucolic romp, the eclectic filmmaker from Leicester certainly never ceases to amaze. His films fit right in with the latest from Mike Leigh and Ken Loach (all three are at Cannes this year) and taken all together, the British flicks make up an unerring portrait of contemporary British society.

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For Tamara Drewe , Frears and screenwriter Moira Buffini have plopped an intellectual clique down in the midst of a pastoral setting, an opportunity to display all the cynicism, immorality, and downright vileness human beings are capable of.

The story revolves around the restless Tamara of the title (Gemma Arteton), who has left London, where she was reporter for the Independent, to come back to her hometown, the little village of Ewedown, with a brand new, most perfect nose.

Now she’s neighbours with Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) , famed and charismatic author of crime novels with a devoted following, and his wife Beth (Tamsin Greig), a couple whose country place has become a “writers’ retreat” for scribes in search of the needed peace and quiet for their opuses. The assorted writers are irresistibly comic: all vain lightweights except for the “loser” Glen McCreavy (Bill Camp) , a Thomas Hardy scholar endowed with a degree of sensibility.

The perfect foils for this lot are teenagers Jody and Casey (Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie), whose only required reading is the celebrity weekly “Goss”, where they bone up on rock stars and B-list actors. When a narcissistic teen idol, drummer Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper) shacks up with Tamara in Ewedown after a one-thing-leads-to-another interview, the two diabolical teens will do anything (and everything) to meet their man..

But Tamara has also aroused the longings of her ex-boyfriend, shy hunk Andy the gardener, and the arrogant Nicholas Hardiment, a serially straying husband, ergo compulsive liar.

Three generations are pilloried by Frears with his customary dry humour and scathing wit, as he spotlights passions more futile than fatal, and all the envy, jealousy, gossip, and lust that accompany them.

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(Translated from Italian)

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