Tamara Drewe

A young Englishwoman (Gemma Arterton) returns to the country home where she grew up, and her presence disrupts the settled routine among the locals—especially the men: an ex-lover and handyman (Luke Evans), a famous writer (Roger Allam) and a rock star (Dominic Cooper). Moira Buffini’s sprightly script (from Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel, loosely but cleverly inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd) is just the kind of thing that Stephen Frears, one of the most adventurous and exhilarating directors working in movies today, can make the most of, and he does. Frears assembles a cast of British TV pros (most of them unfamiliar to Americans), and the result is a bright, bouncy and sly comedy of rural manners, as bracing and invigorating as a year in the airy, earthy English countryside.