cold comfort farm

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★

A recently orphaned young woman goes to live with eccentric relatives in Sussex, where she sets about improving their gloomy lives.

From Academy Award-winning director John Schlesinger comes a brilliantly witty film. Starring Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbour) as Flora Poste, a London society girl, and Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) as Flora's friend and mentor, this heartwarming comedy is full of charm and clever satire.

 

Recently orphaned, Flora ignores the sage advice of Mrs. Smiley (Joanna Lumley) and moves to the country to live on a decrepit farm with her eccentric relatives. Fancying herself a writer, Flora encounters perfect material for her novel in the humorously odd collection of rural characters. In her own inimitable way, Flora insists on creating order out of their chaos, and in the process, she fills their lives with light and laughter. Also starring Rufus Sewell (A Knight's Tale), Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings), Stephen Fry (Peter's Friends) and Eileen Atkins (Upstairs, Downstairs).

 

After a breakout role in Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing, Kate Beckinsale’s star in 1995 was very much on the rise leading to her grabbing the lead role in Cold Comfort Farm. Here, there is a stellar class of up and coming (at that time) and respected theatre actors (McKellen hadn’t hit it big yet with X-Men or Lord of the Rings yet) in this ensemble cast. 

 

Cold Comfort Farm delivers a charming completely English film. Behind the grime, clutter and disrepair of Cold Comfort Farm lies truly eccentric but likeable rogues and vagrants all washed down with quintessential British politeness.

 

English storytelling regarding orphans generally gives them a bad lot to have to deal with. But Cold Comfort Farm brilliantly satirises those well known tropes and it’s Flora who upends the existence of everyone at the farm instead of the other way around. 

 

The ensemble cast is terrifically led by Beckinsale and her performance definitely hinted at more to come. McKellan is superb as the slightly loony hell, fire and brimstone preacher and Stephen Fry is endearing as the slightly kooky local scholar. 

 

Heartwarming and filled with satire, Cold Comfort Farm is an entertaining watch with an all star British cast. 

★★★

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Cold Comfort Farm is available on disc and digital from all good retailers. 

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