Skip to main content

Tamara Drewe me in

Tamara Drewe, a new film by Stephen Frears, who directed one of my all-time favourite movies, Prick Up Your Ears, feels like an instant feel-good Brit classic, from a happier time - and it is sadly ironic to see this well-reviewed pic open with thanks to the UK Film Council, now axed.  The movie, based on a series of cartoons from The Guardian, which I followed when in Budapest and Paris about ten years ago, manages to retain almost all the key story-boarding beats from the drawings of Posy Simmonds (the title is of course an anagram of Me Draw Art).  We are invited in to an idyllic pastoral, disrupted as in the best English farce, by middle-class poseurs and love-rats.

What makes the film so deliciously ripe - the cinematography is sun-burnished and hyper-idealised, so Dorset becomes a new Eden - is how it enjoys satirising a variety of familiar British types from other films and TV shows - the pompous crime novelist; the lesbian creative writer; the suffering plain wife; the self-obsessed rock drummer; the visiting American academic; the hunky local boy; the Australian bar slattern; the sex-crazed teenage girls; and the sexy Independent columnist.  Tamara Drewe is as cosy as a cuppa, but thrums with a low note of doom and malice, as betrayals, lies, and crimes of passion mount.  The denouement, in a cow-crowded field, with several gunshots, feels as dramatic as something from Howard's End, or indeed, Hardy.

The lead actress Gemma Arterton reveals herself to be wildly attractive - a sort of British Bardot - and could be set for stardom after this.  Perhaps the funniest, most charming English comedy since Notting Hill, it will be fun to see if Americans fall under the spell, or if this proves to be a confection that spoils on shipment.  Four specs out of five!
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…