Thursday, 24 February 2011

Tamara Drewe: Movie Review

Tamara Drewe: Movie Review

Tamara Drewe
Rating: 5/10
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 way.
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.

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