TAMARA DREWE is set in what appears to be a perfectly picturesque English town—cobblestone streets, cud-chewing cows, an inn affixed to the town's lone pub. It seems an ideal backdrop for the writers' retreat that's hosted annually at the home of famed local crime novelist Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), who churns out a novel a year with the help of his long-suffering wife Beth (Tamsin Greig). But it's not long before modernity intrudes: Not only do people in this tiny town have tawdry affairs, but they have cell phones and email access, too.
They're also pretty goddamned bored, and this restless pot gets a sudden stir with the return of hometown girl Tamara (Gemma Arterton), post nose-job and ready to rub her newfound sexiness all over the people who called her "beaky" as a girl. When she invites her guylinered boyfriend to stay with her, his posturing (and his poorly trained dog) and her spiteful sexiness trigger a series of conflicts with the locals.
Based on a comic strip that's based on Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd, Tamara Drewe is a funny, perceptive look at what happens when social norms collide. It's also confident enough to reveal most of its social commentary in the details, leaving a viewer the pleasure of figuring out what it all means.