Those wouldn't make sense, but one of the great things about "Tamara Drewe" (2010) is that it isn't all about her. Sure, she's a fine character - an attractive, young London journalist, returned to the country home of her mother. She is much changed, thanks to a nose job, and not just in her appearnce. But showing up again stirs up the countryside. Even the handsome but taciturn handy Andy Cobb gets his Wellingtons in a state over her.
My favorite, truly, is the 15-year-old village girl. Angry about how she and her mother were abandoned by her father and bored out of her adolescent mind, Jody says nearly everything with a sneer, even when dreaming aloud of shagging rock star, teen magazine idol Ben Sergeant.. She may sound dreadful, but I found her hilarious. Freckled actress Jessica Barden steals multiple scenes as Jody and blusters her way into my heart and, eventually, finds a way into her idol's arms -- though maybe not in the way she imagined.
While her mother ruins Jody's life, everyone else seems set on ruining their own, with often inappropriate romances. There's Beth and Nicholas. There's Ben with Tamara. Tamara with Nicholas. Cobb with the local pub maid. Ben with his ex-girlfriend. Maybe even Glen with Beth.
This game of musical hearts may have been borrowed from Thomas Hardy, who inspired Posy Simmonds in the writing of the graphic novel "Tamara Drewe." At the beginning, we see that Beth and Nicholas operate a writers' retreat advertised as "Far from the madding crowd," the title of Hardy's fourth book. Glen's scholarship is on Hardy. Hardy's plot includes situations of love and betrayal that appear to have been borrowed for "Tamara Drewe."
Don't worry, though. You don't have to know English Lit, or even Lit Lite, to enjoy this. It's a lovely breezy film that's good enough to have been a bigger hit. It probably would've been, had director Stephen Frears cast Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and Keira Knightley in place of Tamsin Greig, Roger Allam and Gemma Arterton. As it is, it's a roster of good actors I hope we see more of.