Ad­ven­tures of the Hardy girls

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Jonathan Richards For The New Mex­i­can

Ta­mara Drewe, black com­edy from a graphic novel, rated R, Re­gal DeVargas, 3 chiles Thomas Hardy hasn’t had this much fun in a cen­tury. If he ever did. Hardy, who died in 1924, was no paragon of do­mes­tic virtue; as re­vealed in bi­o­graph­i­cal bits and snip­pets in the lat­est film from Stephen Frears ( Dan­ger­ous Li­aisons, High Fidelity, The Queen), he was an adul­terer whose eye for young ladies did not age along with the rest of his body. This in it­self does not mean he didn’t have fun; but if he did, ap­par­ently he did not spread much joy around.

The Hardy novel at is­sue here is Far From the Madding Crowd, pub­lished in 1874 and the one that put the author on the lit­er­ary map. Ta­mara Drewe, based on Posy Sim­monds’ graphic novel de­rived from the Hardy book, sets the ac­tion in the present, in the bu­colic Dorset ham­let of Ewe­down, among a gag­gle of writ­ers presided over by a best­selling author of de­tec­tive fic­tion, Ni­cholas Hardi­ment (Roger Al­lam). Ni­cholas and his long-suf­fer­ing wife, Beth (Tamsin Grieg), run a writ­ers’ re­treat at their farm. Beth does the work, bak­ing cakes and gath­er­ing eggs and nur­tur­ing the writ­ers, while Ni­cholas soaks up their fawn­ing adu­la­tion and mur­murs self-ag­gran­diz­ing self-dep­re­ca­tions.

Into this shal­low par­adise (Ewe­down can be read as an ana­gram of wow, Eden) comes Ta­mara Drewe (Gemma Arter­ton), a for­mer lo­cal who

A Dorset Daisy Duke: Gemma Ather­ton

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