'Tamara Drewe' - Movie Review

Hard for me to turn down Gemma Arterton, Luke Evans, and Dominic Cooper directed by Stephen Frears. It starts out well enough - in fact the first 30 minutes is hilarious and definitely worth the price of admission (even if I'd actually had to pay for it instead of borrowing the DVD from a friend ...). But as it proceeds, it skews into absurdity, loses much of its humour, and gets more mean-spirited.

The story is a modern take on Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd (a phrase they manage to slip into the movie), based on a comic-strip-turned-graphic-novel by Posy Simmonds. Tamara Drewe (Arterton) moving back to a small town to sell her family home, where she becomes entangled with a local writer's retreat, the drummer from a famous band (Cooper), and the local handyman (Evans) who used to be her flame a decade ago (before she left, became a famous newspaper columnist, and had a nose job). Despite the unconventional trappings (craziness at the writer's retreat, a 15 year old band groupie who invades our heroine's home whenever she's away) I was able to pick out not only the man Tamara would be with at the end of the movie, but also how a marriage in the writer's group would fracture - all within the first 20 minutes. I'm not saying I'm good at this: I'm saying the plotting wasn't very inventive (and I haven't read the Hardy, although I doubt that has much bearing on the conclusion here).

Watch it and enjoy the first 40 minutes, then tolerate the next hour.