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Movies Review

Cannes 2010: 'Tamara Drewe'

By
Tamara Drewe

© Rex Features / c.Sony Pics/Everett

Released on Monday, May 17 2010

Based on Posy Simmonds's graphic novel (itself loosely derived from Far From The Madding Crowd), Stephen Frears's Tamara Drewe centres on a sultry young journo who returns to the local village where she grew up and sends three very different men into a tizzy. Fittingly, it's Britain's latest sex bomb Gemma Arterton breaking hearts in those short shorts.

A breezy country romp about bed-swapping and infidelity, Tamara navigates through liaisons with obnoxious rocker Ben (Dominic Cooper), kind farmhand Andy (Luke Evans) and author Nicholas (Roger Allam). Her trail of destruction sweeps through the countryside and eventually threatens to end the philandering Nicholas's marriage to Beth (Tamsin Greig). It's a credit to the film (and Arterton) that it's still possible to find someone as flawed and selfish as Tamara sympathetic. Through flashbacks it's revealed that she had eyes for Nicholas as a teenager and a brief fling with Ben. Years later, with a new nose (plastic surgery shrunk her formidable hooter) and a column at The Independent she's transformed from mischievous teen into all-out vamp.

Tamara is funny, saucy and marvelously acted. After roles as 'the girl' in Clash Of The Titans and Prince Of Persia, Alice Creed and this film show that Arterton is a more than capable leading lady. Behind the lens, director Frears expertly juggles multiple character strands - Bill Camp as an author on a writer's retreat and Jessica Barden's scheming Tamara-like Jody provide memorable support - that lean on the side of light and frothy. A dark plot turn in the final reel does clash somewhat with the genial tone, but it's never anything less than entertaining.



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