Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tamara Drewe-Far From The Madding Crowd?

Tamara Drewe Movie Poster
Tamara Drewe is an interesting little film based directly on a graphic novel (read comic book) by Posy Simmonds originally published in serial form in The Guardian newspaper. A takeoff on Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd, it is a modern day version, much like Bridget Jones's Diary is a modern riff on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  Directed by Stephen Frears (of The Queen and Dangerous Liaisons), it follows a journalist back to her hometown, after she has transformed her appearance through rhinoplasty.

Image from Posy Simmonds' graphic novel Tamara Drewe

It is a rather farcical sex romp through the gorgeous Dorset countryside, so if bed hopping in films bothers you, consider yourself warned. The star is Gemma Arterton, famous for her Bond Girl portrayal of Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace.  The real stars however are the two foul-mouthed teenage girls Jody and Casey who hang out in a disused bus shelter and spy on the entire community of Ewedown. They seem to be the only ones who really know what's going on and we see the happenings in the community through their eyes. I must say that they are real modern teens so if you are offended by teen talk and behavior that hasn't been whitewashed for middle-aged viewing, avoid this one. As the mother of a 16 year old boy, I thought it was hysterical, as did my son who plopped down 20 minutes into the film and stayed for the duration.

Casey and Jody, the real stars of Tamara Drewe

I originally saw this in a small art house theatre with a group of girlfriends who appreciate the British sense of humour. It was equally appreciated by my husband and son however, so as long as you're not prudish you'd probably enjoy this one too. This film may actually send me back to read Far From The Madding Crowd as it has been ages since I've read a Hardy novel. I should also see the film version starring Julie Christie but it's from 1967 and must be looking pretty dated by now. Sounds like we need Andrew Davies again!

Update-apparently it was done in 1998 for TV starring Paloma Baeza (from The Way We Live Now) and Jonathan Firth (brother of Colin and star of Victoria and Albert). This version sounds better than the Julie Christie one!

Gemma Arterton as a modern Bathsheba in Tamara Drewe
In short, I can highly recommend this one for a weekend rental. Entertaining and not likely you'll predict how it ends! Cheers!

Tamara DreweTamara DreweFar from the Madding CrowdFar from the Madding Crowd (Signet Classics)Far From the Madding Crowd [VHS]


  1. I'm intrigued--Far from the Madding Crowd was one of the first tapes I bought back when VHS was a new thing, and I diidn't watch it much but was a big Julie Christie fan and thought she made a good Bathsheba. I like modern adaptations of classic stories, so I may give this a go. I have teenagers so hopefully I won't be too shocked :)

  2. Hi Jane, I think you'll really like it. It's pretty fun actually, much along the Bridget Jones line. Let me know what you think of it.
    I'm watching the 1998 version of FFTMC on youtube right now. It really romps along. I love Gabriel's line:
    "And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be— and whenever I look up, there will be you." Sigh......

  3. I haven't seen this one.. it sounds funny. If it's anything like "Bridget Jones," I'm sure I'll have a laugh. I've never seen "Quantum Of Solace" but, I did enjoy Gemma in "Lost In Austen" as well as "St. Trinian's". Wow, Rupert was too funny in "St. Trinian's."

  4. Hi Ladytoesocks, Yes, I think you would find this very funny. I liked St. Trinians but I liked this one better, but you are very right about Rupert. And yes, I should have said Gemma from Lost in Austen! Actually, I have been meaning to review Lost in Austen for a while. Perhaps I should pop that in the DVD player and forget about the pile of snow outside!!!!

    1. Hi Jenny:
      I just watched the 1998 version of Far From the Madding Crowd. I loved Nathanial Parker's sweet portrayal of Garbriel Oak. I can hardly believe it's the same guy who played the creepy Harold Simkpole in Bleak House. What an amazing actor! Thanks for the suggestion.

    2. Hi Olga, glad you liked it. Nathaniel Parker was also awesome as Rawdon Crawley in Vanity Fair 1998. It was a big year for him! Nice to hear from you again! You and I have very similar taste in film methinks.

  5. Hi Jenny, thanks for the suggestion. I've seen the Reese Witherspoon version of Vanity Fair, so it will be intersting to watch the other version. I may try to watch it this weekend.




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