He's one of Britain's finest directing talents, and he's not a fan of repeating himself. Stephen Frears adapts a comic strip for his latest, Tamara Drewe, about a columnist who comes back to her sleepy, small hometown and goes out of her way to disrupt everyone's lives.

Gemma Arterton is the titular Tamara. Post-nose job, she's a sight to behold and she stops the locals in their tracks, even the ones that weren't interested when she was younger. Amongst them, Roger Allam's crime novelist Nicholas Hardiment, who spurned her amorous advances when she was a teen but now can't take his eyes off her. Also besotted is Andy Cobb (Luke Evans) who dumped her many moons ago because his friends called her Beaky.

But she only has eyes for Ben Sergeant, former drummer for Swipe, a band who has split up in rather drastic fashion on stage at a local festival. Meanwhile, guests at Hardiment's house for a writers' retreat are witness to the impending breakdown of his marriage to his wife Beth (Tamsin Greig), who's had it with his frequent extra-marital trysts.

So it's not The Queen, then.

Instead, it's a rather light-hearted and lyrical pastoral romp, with all the charm of Britain's small village culture and a cast of characters both eclectic and energetic. After heavier work, it's a rather frivolous distraction for Frears, but a worthy one, and most of all it's riotously funny.
categories Reviews, Cinematical