A big week, at least in terms of numbers, so let’s get started, shall we?
“Tamara Drewe” (Sony), directed by Stephen Frears, has a strange and wonderful pedigree: an adaptation of the graphic novel (by Posy Simmonds) inspired by Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd” and whipped up with a light sex comedy froth by screenwriter Moira Buffini and the cast (headed by the Gemma Arterton as the gorgeous heroine with identity issues and Roger Allam as the philandering author who wants to bed her). Frears brings a light touch and a knowing compassion to this pastoral romantic farce, where true love wins out and false love is (quite literally) trampled out of sight. See my exclusive interview with director Stephen Frears here.
Gemma Arterton and Luke Evans, the terribly gorgeous young things destined for true love in the film, contribute a lively and entertaining (if not particularly insightful) commentary track. The quote of the week goes to Ms. Arterton and her observation: “It’s so hard acting with a chicken under your arm.” The disc (DVD and Blu-ray both) also includes a couple of featurettes: the general, and fairly generic, “The Making of Tamara Drewe” and the more interesting “Reconstructing Tamara Drewe,” which examines the adaptation of the graphic novel with comparisons between the film and the original pages. “It’s not a storyboard for the film,” explains Frears, “but you can see we captured the essence of it.”
“Hideaway” (Strand) – The films of François Ozon constantly offer alternative family and this elusive French drama (originally titled “Le Refuge”) offers yet another. Isabelle Carré is the drug addict who discovers she is pregnant after surviving an OD that kills her boyfriend and heads out to her hideaway to have her child. Louis-Ronan Choisy is the gay brother of her dead boyfriend who shows up at the beach house escape and, for a time, enters her life with an intimacy that no one else is able. She’s both childlike and terribly experienced, removed and yearning, unwilling to put her trust in anyone else but hoping she finds someone to change her mind as she allows the pregnancy to envelope her like a tide. This young gay man is not necessarily that person, but for a brief moment they find a connection and a reason to care for another. In French with English subtitles.
Also new this week: Middle Men, Life As We Know It, You Again, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, For Colored Girls and more.