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In England in the early 1930s, twenty-year-old Flora Poste, recently orphaned, and left with only one hundred pounds a year, goes to stay with distant relatives on Cold Comfort Farm. Everyone on the gloomy farm is completely round the twist, but Flora tries to sort everything out.Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
"I'd take the old woman as well -- but she's so gloomy!"
This film was produced for BBC television but had a theatrical release the next year -- probably to take advantage of the popularity of all those Jane Austen movies (Emma, Persuasion, et. al.) It is not a Jane Austen story, but it is a sort of genial romance/comedy of manners (set in the early 1930's?) with a plucky, bright, but penniless heroine. The book it was based on was actually a parody of Gothic romance fiction. Even though this movie is played for laughs (and has many), it still manages to make you care for the characters. Everything works here and (editing, cinematography, performances) and you really appreciate what the director, John Schlesinger, managed to do on a probably skimpy budget.
This movie was the first I ever saw of Kate Beckinsale and I thought she was fantastic in it. I remained a fan for a long while, even though her subsequent movie performances (and choices) have been awful. She finally lost me with her recent laughable turn in Van Helsing. Nevertheless, she WAS good in Cold Comfort Farm, so if you're no fan of Beckinsale don't let that dissuade you from seeing this movie.
Other standouts in the cast are Eileen Atkins, Rufus Sewell, and Ian McKellen who is screamingly funny as a fire and brimstone preacher.
This film is definitely worth having on video or DVD in that it bears up very well to repeated viewings. I've seen it at least 5 times since its release, and my estimation of it rises with each viewing.
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