Tamara Drewe 2010 movie

Tamara Drewe – Love and betrayal in scratchy English humor

I’m feeling a little down today since it’s raining outside, and I’m bored, so what better than a good English comedy like Tamara Drewe, a 2010 movie directed by the infallible Stephen Frears.

This is a story that brings us back to the little pleasures and pains of life, those simple things we are proud or ashamed of, just as the main character (guess what her name is), Tamara Drewe, has always been ashamed of her crooked, big nose.

But time has passed, and now Tamara lives and works in greater London, has had a nose job, and is a beautiful career woman as a famous journalist.

However, the past never really goes away completely, and in the old town where she grew up, Ewedown, she still owns her late mother’s big, expensive house.

Her return to her hometown reawakens the interest of local men, among whom is her ex-boyfriend/sex friend Andy, a guy who partly loves her and partly hates her since the house belonged to his family in the past.

Likewise, her presence reshuffles the feelings and lives of her neighbors who stay in the hotel of writer Nicholas Hardiment and his wife Beth, a kind of “paradise for artists” where they find peace and inspiration.

As if there were not enough men around her eager to have her, Tamara meets Ben Sergeant, a rebellious drummer who has just dumped his fiancée and band, with whom she starts living together and plans to marry him and move back to London.

When things seem to be settling down, fate takes a twist in the form of Jody and Casey, two bored teenage friends who are jealous fans of Ben, whose actions set off a chain of events and lies that will change the lives of everyone in town.

British Comedy at Its Best

Stephen Frears transports us to the remote English countryside, far away from the big, noisy London full of chaos and people in perpetual motion.

This fictitious town looks from the outside like a cradle of quietness, but it hides the ashes of hatred and betrayal.

In the director’s typical style, do not expect characters to be sharply divided between good and bad. For example, Tamara Drewe herself is hardly a paragon of virtue who can put herself morally above the other characters in this 2010 movie.

Each of these specimens of the fauna of the English rural landscape has something to hide, such as the admired writer Nicholas Hardiment (the only real local celebrity) who slips one betrayal after another behind the backs of his poor wife Beth or the rival writer Glen McCreavy, an American who seems more severe and honorable. Still, in the end, we see him end up in the web of lies.

Frears cooks up all these ingredients in his usual recipe of taking life lightly, but without denying some serious moments of drama, using a series of over-the-top situations and characters that he makes “ordinary” with the natural and elegant staging style and in Ben Davis’ cinematography.

Equally soft and delicate is Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack, which in some moments takes an unexpectedly “rock” path when the rebellious star Ben Sergeant comes on screen, a further force that definitely destabilizes the already precarious overall balance.

There is little to object to: only the British make comedies in this way, staying grounded in the actuality of the modern world but in a poetic way as if it were a fairy tale from another time, of course, pulling sharp stabs of black humor that are that spicy spice so unique and unfailing.

British faces to love and slap around

I intended to divide the cast into small groups, although all the characters in this 2010 movie, in one way or another, revolve around the beautiful Tamara Drewe.

Of course, let’s start with Tamara herself, played by a stunning Gemma Arterton in one of the most inspired roles of her career.

Gemma is as beautiful as she is self-deprecating both in a T-shirt and sexy short shorts, instantly winking at any man, as much as in the various flashbacks where we see her uglier, shyer, and with this big nose reminiscent of Steve Martin in the hilarious Roxanne.

Equally torn between sex appeal and naïve stupidity is Luke Evans‘ character, ex-boyfriend Andy, who can’t tell (even he doesn’t know until the end) whether he still wants to be together with Tamara or not, though he certainly can’t pretend to ignore her.

In between the two happens to be the messy Dominic Cooper, a spoiled, wealthy drum virtuoso who, however, we eventually discover is not as stupid or selfish as he may initially seem.

Moving to the artists’ house, we have a phenomenal Roger Allam as the chronically lying husband of poor Tamsin Greig, who is also not as naive as he seems.

However, Allam‘s excellent character peaks (as does the brilliant dialogue in this movie) when he clashes with Bill Camp, a peace-seeking writer from faraway America who is impatient with the hypocritical life and writing style of the more famous English colleague/rival.

Finally, although they may initially be just a comic interlude, the two little friends Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie will be pivotal, funny teenagers bored by the monotonous country life where nothing ever happens, who hopelessly violate the protagonist’s privacy and e-mail.

I hope that (as it was for me) this movie will be a small discovery. In 2010, perhaps it deserved more visibility and to be treated with more love and respect, just like the sweet and lonely (but never lonely) charming Tamara Drewe.

Tamara Drewe 2010 movie
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