It’s the hottest ticket in town, this film with critics finding no fault and with film-goers emerging with smiles on their faces, two hours well-spent and at relatively low cost.
Based on cartoonist Posy Simmonds’ interpretation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, this is modern life in all its, well, harsh reality wrapped in cotton wool amidst idyllic countryside scenery. It’s easy to sink into escapist, uplifting comedic fiction, which is the point of Tamara Drewe.
There are times fleetingly when you see your own life in front of you, flashing an “oh, that was me” thought onto your mind’s private screen before you sink back into the moment.The teenage angst that comes from boredom and unfulfillable dreams; the struggle with self-esteem and under-achievement; the unspoken anxiety about missed opportunities; the mask of ego; the compromise too far in relationships; and the way we retreat from difficult emotions and truths or handle depression and bereavement.
Many people choose films for their idealistic joy and rightly so. They take us out of ourselves, put a spring into our step and bring new energy into our lives for as long as we let them. It would be wrong, therefore, to over-emphasise the dose of reality that underlies this funny romp through middle-class Britishness. But, if it stirs things up for you, talking them through with a psychotherapist or counsellor could help you regain whatever it is that the film makes you think you’ve lost so that you, too, can aim for what its brilliant actors provide a welcome, if momentary, happy ever after feeling.
Read The Guardian’s sharply-written review of this richly observed version of art imitating life: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/sep/09/tamara-drewe-review