Film Review: Gemma Arterton Displays Luminosity as ‘Tamara Drewe’

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CHICAGO – There are some movies that are gut level great because of plot, atmosphere and pacing, and then there are movies like “Tamara Drewe,” which rely on the elusive star power of the performer to drive its engine. Gemma Arterton portrays the title character and lights up the screen with a vivid presence in this simple story of a woman’s homecoming.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Based on a British graphic novel, Tamara Drewe is about a woman who used to live in a small country village in the UK, who comes home to take care of selling the family home after her mother dies. Her arrival stirs the circumstance in the otherwise dull area, as she is interrelated to several of her fellow villagers by past relationships, and she brings in another yet another character who causes a couple teenagers in town to spy on her.

The story opens at a writers retreat in the same village. We hear the various narratives flowing through their heads, serious and absurd. The retreat is facilitated by a vain hack writer named Nicholas (Roger Allam), successful with his mystery novels but repugnant otherwise. His long suffering wife Beth (Tamsin Greig) takes care of the inn’s inhabitants, including an odd Amercan named Glen (Bill Camp).

Enter Tamara, she literally climbs the fence into the writers’ lives, and causes a sensational with her new look. Apparently as a teenager she had a large nose, and her new face includes a surgically smaller nasal appendage. She is stunningly vibrant, drawing the attention again of an old lover and handyman at the camp, Andy (Luke Evans), and the serial adulterer Nicholas.

The situation becomes more complicated when the journalist Tamara covers a rock band at at local concert and connects with the drummer named Ben (Dominic Cooper). She takes him back to her mother’s home, and begins an affair. Little does Tamara know that a couple of teenage groupies of Ben (Charlotte Christie, Jessica Barden) are about to stake out her house, and infiltrate the relationship with intentions of getting Ben for themselves.

”Tamara Drewe” continues a limited release in Chicago on October 22th. Check local listings for show times and locations. Featuring Gemma Arteron, Roger Allam, Bill Camp, Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper and Tamsin Greig. Screenplay by Moira Buffini, based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds.
Directed by Stephen Frears.

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Tamara Drewe”

Over the Fence: Gemma Arteron as the Title Character in ‘Tamara Drewe’
Over the Fence: Gemma Arteron as the Title Character in ‘Tamara Drewe’
Photo credit: Peter Mountain for © Sony Pictures Classic

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Tamara Drewe”

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