Tamara Drewe: Movie Review
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Tamsin Greig, Dominic Cooper, Luke
Evans, Roger Allam
Director: Stephen Frears
Taken from a weekly UK comic strip in the Guardian newspaper, the big screen
adaptation of Tamara Drewe finally hits New Zealand screens.
Gemma Arterton is Drewe, a journalist forced back into her sleepy English
home town to sell the family home after the death of her mother. Tamara fled
years ago after realizing there was life outside of the dull boring backwater
she grew up in.
But not only has Tamara returned home, she's returned a different girl
following cosmetic surgery for a gigantic nose issue.
Her arrival stirs up many feelings - a long dormant relationship with local
handyman Andy (Luke Evans), a jealousy among the writers who frequent a retreat,
as well as hatred from two of the local school girls after Drewe begins a
relationship with a rocker (Dominic Cooper) adored by many the teen girl.
And things come to a head with the return - not all of them in a good
Tamara Drewe is a mixed film.
On the one hand, it's obvious that this version sticks very closely to the
source material (with many of the characters looking incredibly close to what
was inked on the page) and on the other, it's such a mish mash of so many
different kinds of films with a central character whom you're kind of loathe to
really route for. Plus throw in a mix of themes - romance, drama, kitchen sink
dramas et al and it's an odd hotpot of narrative you end up with.
Arterton is good as Drewe - but the role calls for her to be alluring
seductress, lost little girl and victim as well - and it's a lot which means you
don't really end up routing for the heroine of the piece.
There's little real edge to the story with every character having a facet of
their life which makes them unlikeable to varying - Andy the local handyman is
weak-willed; Beth (the wonderful Tamsin Greig coming soon in TV ONE's new comedy
Episodes) is spineless for not standing upto her crime writer husband's affairs;
Ben (Dominic Cooper) is self centred as the rocker.
All in all, they're a fairly feckless bunch of characters and ones whom you
don't really care about.
Tamara Drewe brilliantly captures the small countryside mentality as well as
the simmering resentments, but there's something uniquely English about the
portrayal which means some of the subtleties may be lost on other audiences.