Tamara Drewe: Just not Bridget

There’s something about naming a story after the lead character that, to me, creates a sense of intrinsic Britishness. I’m reminded of my first encounter with the tales of Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and Oliver Twist, the smell of the pages as I followed the title character through the chapters, and the over-arching sense of quality.

So when I settled down to watch new Brit-Film Tamara Drewe I was expecting something special.

Having seen the trailer, I was expecting a romantic comedy set in the county, full of mishaps and providing a nice variety of laughs.  What I got was a strange meshing of Bridget Jones and Midsomer Murders

The film is an adaptation of Posy Simmonds weekly Guardian comic strip, which is in itself a reworking of Thomas Hardy’s classic Far from the Madding Crowd, and features a Brit-heavy cast, with a number of whom offering truly stonking performances – hats off to odious Roger Allam as novelist Nicholas Hariment (who actually made my skin crawl), and Tamsin Grieg as his long-suffering wife Beth.

However, aside from some strange plot twists (involving noses, cows and rock stars) which left me feeling somewhat bemused and down-right puzzled, I found Tamara Drewe to be a refreshing direction for British cinema.  It’s just a shame that the title character is actually the least interesting of the bunch…

The story centres on columnist Tamara Drewe who returns to her childhood village after the death of her mother.  But rather than sorting out the estate and returning to the Big Smoke, Ms Drewe finds herself gathering the attention of a number of the villages men-folk… helped along no-end by a pair of bottom-clutching denim shorts.

Tamara Drewe is a prime example of a film that would have been more enjoyable if the trailer hadn’t tried to make it seem something it simply wasn’t.  Whilst this farce is frothy and often frivolous, it’s generally not laugh-out-loud funny – and the ending didn’t leave me with the feel-good-movie-afterglow I was predicting…

Tamara Drewe is definitely worth is watch – just don’t go expecting Bridget Jones.



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