Tag Archives: stephen frears

Love, Nina: Don’t ever give her socks

love ninaBritish comedies with a central female character usually fall into two camps. If she is young, she must be impossibly cute and winsome; the main premise being her woeful love life, her quest to get hitched, or her attempts to have a baby. If she is older, it’s possibly all of the former, but more likely her status within her family, her juggling of her exceedingly busy life, or her illicit affair with Roger from Number 36. What drew me to the five-parter ‘Love, Nina’ was that it was less about her traditional role as female and more about a young person coming of age in London in the early eighties, working as a nanny for an eccentric family.

Faye Marsay was the titular heroine, a fairly under the radar actress, who will no doubt pop up more in the future. Cute, but not impossibly so, she captured that sense of gangling awkwardness of the just turned twenty but still feeling like a little girl and not quite knowing how to be grown-up. Padding barefoot between the supermarket, her yoga class and her almost-boyfriend Nunney’s house while trying to fathom her place in the brave new world she found herself in was captivating. She often puts her bare foot in it, frequently embarrassing herself, or acting thoughtlessly, but still very endearing.  Continue reading

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Lustbox: Dominic Cooper

Who’s a pretty boy then? Dominic Cooper is to be sure in Tamara Drewe, Stephen Frear’s recent film. Set in a remote Dorset village and based on a Posy Simmonds cartoon, Cooper, in kohl, black leather and banana yellow Porsche, plays Ben, bad boy drummer in indie band Swipe. After being interviewed by journalist Tamara (Gemma Arterton), he seduces her with a dextrous display of skilful drumming using cooking implements. Always a winner, until you get tinnitus. They embark on an affair watched by jealous teenage Swipe fan Jody, lurking in the disused bus stop (service discontinued) with her mate, snapping anyone in the village snogging with their mobile phones and hurling eggs at passing cars because they are so bored.

The story of Tamara Drewe, based loosely on Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, is all played out very amusingly and includes excellent performances from Tamsin Greig and Roger Allam. But my favourite character by far is the badly behaved Ben, with his long-suffering boxer dog, floppy black hair and designer stubble. What impresses me about Dominic Cooper, other than the fact that he’s gorgeous and funny, is that he never seems to mind losing his dignity. His role as Dakin in The History Boys is probably my all-time favourite, but he was great in An Education too, and even managed to not look like a total knob as the bridegroom in the enjoyably preposterous Mamma Mia!

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Filed under Films, Lustbox