In between Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and the gathering storm that is the upcoming adaptation of the Avengers series from Marvel Studios, 2010 offers us yet another comic book adaptation, but one of a markedly less frenetic nature. Based on a graphic novel (serialized in The Guardian) by British cartoonist Posy Simmonds, Tamara Drewe is a slice of genteel bucolia, which, on its publication in 2007, conveniently exonerated thousands of Brits from the apparently tiresome task of reading Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd all the way through. Likewise, its predecessor, Gemma Bovery, was . . . well, you get the idea.
As a voracious chronicler of numerous types of Britishness, but one who, despite his pedigree, is not fastidious enough about his oeuvre to consider himself above any particular kind of material, Stephen Frears is perfectly suited to the job of directing what most of his festival-bound compatriots (Leigh, Loach, Andrea Arnold) wouldn’t touch. Read Julien Allen’s review of Tamara Drewe.