111 minutes| U.K.| 2010| Colour| Anamorphic| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm

Deliciously entertaining yet never empty-headed, this latest offering from Stephen Frears adeptly blends frothy comedy, emotional drama and barbed observations about the way we live now. Adapted from Posy Simmonds’ sharp-witted newspaper comic strip, it zeroes in on a posh enclave of Dorset, where the homecoming of minxy newspaper columnist Gemma Arterton sets hearts a-flutter among the local menfolk, from lovelorn farmhand Luke Evans to pompous bestselling writer Roger Allam and indie pop sensation Dominic Cooper. While the film amusingly nails these characters’ foibles and pretensions, there’s evidently more going on here than some sardonic ‘Aga-saga’. Keep your eyes on the travails of the author’s long-suffering spouse Tamsin Greig (outstanding), and the meddling of star-struck schoolgirl Jessica Barden in Arterton’s unfolding amours, all of which underline how the sundry manifestations of ‘celebrity’ culture can make others feel unhappy with the ordinary lives they have. Flawlessly performed and directed, this is a genuine pleasure. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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