COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 51min
STARRING: Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans, Tamsin Greig, Roger Allam
Talk of the town: Arterton
Few places are more potentially pretentious-moi than a writers’ retreat. The duelling egos in residence at Stonefield, in the pixie-picturesque Dorset village of Ewedown, each have their creative issues. But they pale in comparison with the philandering of middle-aged proprietor and thriller writer Nicholas Hardiment (Allam), who tramples all over his caring wife, Beth (Greig), when he gets the hots for sexy young Tamara Drewe (Arterton), back in the village from the big smoke to sell her childhood home. Post–nose job, newspaper columnist Tamara is hot stuff — and set to heat up a sedate status quo with her whirl of dalliances.
There’s a loose, wiggy feel to director Stephen Frears’s quaint frolic, based on Posy Simmonds’s 2008 graphic novel, which was itself inspired by Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel Far from the Madding Crowd. Frears (The Queen) is a dab hand with English foibles and it’s a wee treat to slip into the fairy story feel of this one. Will our girl go for rock-solid ex-flame Andy (Evans) or stay uneasily put with rocker fiancé Ben (Cooper)? Either way, her quirks add up to a rosy surprise package.