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Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on Posy Simmonds’ beloved graphic novel of the same name this wittily modern take on the romantic English pastoral is a far cry from Hardy’s Wessex. Tamara Drewe’s present-day English countryside—stocked with pompous writers, rich weekenders, bourgeois bohemians, a horny rock star, and a great many Buff Orpington chickens and Belted Galloway cows—is a much funnier place. When Tamara Drewe sashays back to the bucolic village of her youth, life for the locals is thrown upside down. Tamara—once an ugly duckling—has been transformed into a devastating beauty (with help from plastic surgery). As infatuations, jealousies, love affairs and career ambitions collide among the inhabitants of the neighboring farmsteads, Tamara sets a contemporary comedy of manners into play using the oldest magic in the book—sex appeal. (Sony Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 20, 2010
    88
    Tamara Drewe is one of those British comedies in which, one way or another, we envy all of the characters.
  2. Reviewed by: Ray Bennett
    Oct 20, 2010
    80
    Jaunty and entertaining.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 17, 2010
    75
    It's a tart trifle, but in the madding crowd of year-end movies, Tamara Drewe rocks.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Oct 20, 2010
    70
    The story's literary underpinnings are hilariously represented by the denizens of a seedy writers' retreat situated near Tamara's old house, which she has come back to reclaim after her mother's death.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 21, 2010
    63
    Tamara Drewe is so light, it's almost pure froth.
  6. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Oct 20, 2010
    60
    Strikingly picturesque locations and a terrific ensemble cast help this tonally inconsistent adaptation of Posy Simmonds's comic series pass by with relative ease, though it leaves a very peculiar aftertaste.
  7. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Oct 20, 2010
    40
    The book itself is an easy read -- conveniently enough, it shouldn't take you more than two hours. So you might want to skip the discordant copy, and use that time to discover the real thing.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Oct 20, 2010
    9
    I have been a fan of Stephen Frears since My Beautiful Launderette and The Hit. Tamara Drewes is a really delightful addition to his very varied body of work. It's quirky English comedy at a high level. Gemma Arterton is first rate as are the rest of the cast. A great little movie. I have no idea why the critics didn't rate it higher (but kudos as always to my faves--Ella Taylor and Peter Rainer--who know a good film when they see one.) Expand
  2. Feb 24, 2011
    8
    A solidly middling Stephen Frears film--not a masterpiece like "Laundrette" or "Liaisons" or "High Fidelity," but not a bomb like "Mary Reilly." In "Tamara Drewe," we see familiar strengths on display: fully fleshed characters navigating minefields of desire with consequences alternately dire and ridiculous. But something about the film seems a little stale. Familiar stories abound: e.g. the ugly duckling who becomes a swan; the adulterous writer who claims art as his license; Far from the Madding Crowd. A third of the way in, it's clear who will get a happy ending--and why and with whom. Snore. For me, however, two 15-year-old troublemakers save the film from mawkishness. Whether egging cars or dabbling in more serious crime, their desperate boredom reveals a dark side to country living, and the film makes them, at once, perfectly appalling and enormously sympathetic. Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie are wonderful as the teenagers, sharing an appetite for an imagined life elsewhere but otherwise very different. And it's smart and ironic that so many plot developments issue from their meddling, given their limited understanding of what they do. All in all, "Tamara Drewe" kept me engaged as I was watching, but I didn't have much to chew on afterward. Collapse
  3. Dec 17, 2010
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Usually it's chickens, but cows can come home to roost, too. Nicholas(Roger Allam), the philandering husband who runs a writers' retreat with his long-suffering wife Beth(Tasmin Greig), pays the ultimate price for his extra-curricular activities, of all places, the meadow, where peace and quiet is the usual order of the day. Little did he know that his walk, then talk with Glenn(Bill Camp), an American, would end in comeuppance. Being trampled by cattle was a two-fold process, an outcome due to the unfortunate placement of a trough, after the Thomas Hardy scholar("Far from the Maddening Crowd" serves as the inspiration for the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds) pushes the Brit backwards, leaving him unconscious on the grass during the ensuing roost. This accidental murderer, a bookworm through and through, had no choice but to defend himself against the encroaching husband, full of piss and vinegar as he admonished Glenn for kissing his wife, even though he takes Beth for granted, like a doormat, realizing much too late what a good thing he had going. This forgotten woman, the artist's muse, who takes care of all the little things so Nicholas can write without distraction, has to shoulder some of the blame, though, making herself invisible, as she did throughout their entire marriage, by insisting on her own self-abnegating designs. She mistakenly bought into the idea that her husband was a great man, worthy of blind worship, in which she willfully allowed herself to be complicit toward the liberties Nicholas had felt entitled to take. All at once, when somebody sends Beth an incriminating photo on her cell phone, she realizes that her love was sick, nothing more than a lifeline which helped foster megalomania and hubris. Tamara Drewe(Gemma Arterton), the other woman, quite pointedly, goes unpunished for her part in the affair, suggesting that the film takes the position of the home-wrecker as victim, a young "girl" seduced by the career lothario. During Tamara's pre-rhinoplasty phase, back when she was an "ugly duckling"(note: the former Bond girl is still hot; give the girl a fat suit, for starters), Nicholas wouldn't give her the time of day, crushing the teen, nerdy enough to be enamored with an author's somewhat limited fame. Tamara, considered to be ugly, or rather, severely flawed for the whole of her life, returns home as a sex bomb, but her perfect nose still comes equipped with training wheels. She lacks the supreme confidence of the self-possessed beauty, a woman who knows she has the upper-hand in any encounter with a man. With her fire-red top and short-shorts, Tamara sure knows how to dress the part, but she's still learning how to own her sexuality, as evidenced by the way Nicholas calls the shot, casting a spell on his prey, when he pays her a social call at home. The famous novelist is clearly a man who knows his own strength because he knows women; he knows Tamara would be susceptible to his advances. Down deep inside that willowy body of hers, Nicholas senses the remnants of the pretty...ugly girl Tamara had perceived herself to be(the big nose didn't stop Andy from shagging her, though). Even now, she needs his validation; this father figure from her past, whom she needs to be with in order to feel truly beautiful. The drummer of a famous band is one thing, but Nicholas Hardiment; he's an author(hilariously, Jody, as played by Jessica Barden, dismisses the writer as not being "a proper celebrity"), so married or not, Tamara responds to the older man's overtures, because he was her first mirror, the person who determined if she was worthy of receiving love. The journalist for The Independent doesn't know that she holds the agency, that she's the one holding the mirror now, and should be the seducer, not the seduced. Someday, if her relationship with Andy Cobb(Luke Cobb) doesn't pan out, this knockout will figure it out. In crime novels, the genre of Nicholas Hardiment's oeuvre, it's the femme fatale who gets punished, but Tamara Drewe is not a femme fatale. Sure, she breaks Beth's heart, but Nicholas breaks it harder, which is why the cows saved its roosting for him, and not her, the novice sexpot. Expand
  4. Nov 22, 2010
    5
    This failed British comedy takes place at a writers' retreat in the country. The lackluster plot revolves around the egos and peccadilloes of the residents and how things are upended when lovely Tamara returns to town. The humor could be considered sophisticated, but I think diluted is a better description. The performances are good and the pacing clips along, but the dialogue doesn't provide much enjoyment. Expand
  5. Jan 1, 2012
    4
    Other than a general tendency not to want to pan a movie entirely, I'm not sure what I'm giving it 4 for. The majority of the characters were uniformly unpleasant, the quantity of swearing off-putting (though that's how we know it's a Brit comedy I suppose) and the general themes rather over-worked and reworked without humour. Tamsin Greig's Beth was just about worthy, though coming across so down-trodden it was difficult to feel very much sympathy, even in the face of Nicholas' infidelity and insufferable smugness (something Roger Allam does very well). Arterton's Drewe is just plain colourless. Whilst the camera loved her curves, there was little else on show: no motivation, no sympathy, no humour.

    Comparisons with Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd are obvious, but unworthy, and the fact that it was based on a graphic novel is no excuse for cartoon characters that are spiked with inhumanity, rather than leavened with humanity.
    Expand
  6. Nov 29, 2012
    4
    Oh dear. This proved to be a fairly mediocre mess of a film. So much cliche, full of mostly bland, forgettable characters. Gemma Arterton is fine, as are most of the performers, but some like the excellent Tamsin Greig deserve better. One particularly cringeworthy scene features Dominic Cooper woo-ing Gemma Arterton by playing the drums on pots and pans with his feet... I guess that's love. It even manages to mess up the one good relationship in the whole film. Disappointing. Expand

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