Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) used to have a giant nose. No one in her little village of Ewedown would ever give her a second look. As a young girl she had a crush on the famous novelist of the village, Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam). Andy Cobb (Luke Evans) was the only one who really fancied Tamara, but he couldn't put up with her constant head games.
Flash forward a few years, and Tamara has blown back into town sporting a brand new, smaller nose, butt hugging pants, and a suddenly revealed sex appeal that no one knew existed. She's a journalist for a local newspaper, and has taken up residence in her childhood home, which is just across the field from the Hardiment's home.
The Hardiments host novelist retreats where writers can come and hopefully get inspiration from the beautiful English countryside. Nicholas is a philanderer and his wife Beth is trying to put up with it all the while keeping everything together.
There are still more characters to introduce. A pair of devious teenagers, Jody Long (Jessica Barden) and Casey Shaw (Charlotte Christie) sit sullenly on a local bus bench hoping to meet their favorite celebrity, famous drummer Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper).
With all these intersecting characters and storylines it's a wonder director Stephen Frears ('The Queen') is able to keep everything together, but keep it together he does.
Throughout the course of a year or so, the seasons pass by with notifications that pop up on screen like "Summer" and "Winter," Tamara works her way through the male population of the village. First falling for Ben, all the while flirting with Andy, and carrying on an affair with Nicholas. She's not exactly a good person. Jody and Casey are mischievous youngsters who only want to meet Ben. They meddle in the private lives of these people in order to get Ben where they want him.
There's so much going on it's almost impossible to describe the entire movie in a review. I'm impressed Frears was able to keep the whole thing within a 111 minute running time. Still, when you watch it, it's easy to become lost in the lives and quirks of these people. No one here is perfect. All their lives intersect in some way, everyone affecting the other person. A series of chain reactions slowly leads these characters through a downward spiral.
'Tamara Drewe' is smart, sensible, and fun. It's a movie that never has to explain itself, instead you watch the story play out on screen. The characters never come right out and explain why they are the way they are. Like when Tamara begins her affair with Nicholas we're left wondering, why? Then we realize that Tamara isn't a saint. She's just as tainted and devious as the rest of the cast.
As usual, Frear's direction is excellent. He's able to keep everyone on task and the story moving forward at a brisk pace, without losing out on characterization. Sony Classics has picked up a beautiful little British film here. Seek it out. You won't be disappointed.
Ah, Sony! How I love your Blu-rays. Here's another magnificent 1080p transfer from the studio. With bright bold colors and striking detail 'Tamara Drewe's adventure onto Blu-ray is a winner. Details, from Tamara's delicate smile lines to the stone work of the surrounding village, everything is superbly rendered. Even with tightly packed bricks and horizontal brick lines running horizontally throughout the picture, aliasing is kept at bay.
The colors are rich and plentiful here as the English countryside is awash with deep greens and earthy browns. Contrast is right on the money. Blacks are even and deep. Shadows never seem to crush or inhibit the exhibition of detail in lower lit scenes. Textures take on a life of their own as tweed jackets and finely woven clothing is perfectly visible to the naked eye. Skin tones are natural and soft. They never burn too hot.
Artifacts never pop up. I didn't notice any noise that would detract from the overall pleasure of viewing this title. Believe me, this is a pleasure.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless mix for 'Tamara Drewe' just about reaches the pinnacle that the video presentation reached. It's a perfect compliment for this film.
Even though there aren't any whiz-bang sound effects, this is a wonderfully mixed soundtrack that lends itself to producing real, natural sounds from the English countryside. The rear channels are alive with chirping birds, mooing cows, and leaves rustling in the wind. The detail in the rear channels creates a wonderfully engrossing feeling while watching the movie. Pans work smoothly as charging cows rumble from one side of the viewing field to the other.
Up front the dialogue is presented clearly through the front and center channels, with directionality working perfectly. LFE crops up occasionally, during a rock concert, drum beats, or the pounding from the hooves of stampeding cows.
For this type of talkative film, this soundtrack really buoys it. It does what it's supposed to and leaves the listener with an enveloping presentation.
There's so much to 'Tamara Drewe' it's hard to describe it all. The movie is like the woman, hard to explain in words, but easy on the eyes. This is a brilliant little British comedy from a seasoned director who's shown his ability to cross over into multiple genres and continue to hold his own. The video is near demo-quality. As a matter of fact much of the movie could be used as demo material, especially the exterior shots. They're beautiful. The audio is also something to behold. While the special features leave much to be desired, this one comes highly recommended.