7.3/10
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68 user 30 critic

Cold Comfort Farm (1995)

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

Director:

John Schlesinger

Writers:

Malcolm Bradbury (screenplay), Stella Gibbons (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
4,081 ( 547)

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eileen Atkins ... Judith Starkadder
Kate Beckinsale ... Flora Poste
Sheila Burrell Sheila Burrell ... Ada Doom
Stephen Fry ... Mybug
Freddie Jones ... Adam Lambsbreath
Joanna Lumley ... Mrs. Mary Smiling
Ian McKellen ... Amos Starkadder
Miriam Margolyes ... Mrs. Beetle
Rufus Sewell ... Seth Starkadder
Ivan Kaye ... Reuben Starkadder
Jeremy Peters Jeremy Peters ... Urk
Maria Miles Maria Miles ... Elfine Starkadder
Christopher Bowen ... Charles Fairford
Louise Rea Louise Rea ... Meriam Beetle
Sophie Revell Sophie Revell ... Rennet
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Storyline

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 <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She discovered a new branch of her family tree... the one with all the nuts.

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief sensuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cold Comfort Farm See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,139,000, 19 July 1996

Gross USA:

$5,596,906, 4 October 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Seth Starkadder (Rufus Sewell) says that Flora Poste (Kate Beckinsale) would "drain away a man's blood as soon as look at him." Both played vampires: Sewell in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) and Beckinsale in the Underworld film franchise. See more »

Goofs

The candlestick on breakfast table during the first breakfast scene changes places depending upon the shot. See more »

Quotes

Flora Poste: Nature's all very well in her place, but she musn't be allowed to make things untidy.
See more »

Connections

Version of Cold Comfort Farm (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Tara's Theme
Composed by Max Steiner
Published by MCPS/Bourne Inc.
Performed by The London Festival Orchestra and Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Laughter, Soaked in Nature's Fecund Blessing
14 May 2007 | by MoviolaSteenbeckSee all my reviews

"Child, child. If you come to this doomed 'ouse, what is there to save you?"- Judith Starkadder in COLD COMFORT FARM.

The "child" in question is the lone offspring of one Robert Poste (deceased) and, as we are soon to discover, Poste's progeny, Flora, is hardly one in need of saving. Orphaned in her budding womanhood, nettled by the golden orb of an unrealized literary career, Flora strikes out from the discerning (or snobbish) urban sophistication of London ( leaving behind her good friend Mary and Mary's invaluable manservant, Sneller) and heads for the bucolic splendor of the Sussex countryside to lodge with her relatives, the Starkadders, and find herself.

She finds instead: a muck-begrimed tumbledown estate wherein resides a ready-for-Hollywood womanizer (Cousin Seth), an estate-coveting farmer (Cousin Reuben), a daffy romantic (Cousin Elfine), a too-loving mother (Cousin Judith), a 'vengeful god', proselytizing father (Cousin Amos), and an iron-willed matriarch (Greataunt Ada Doom). There's also a smattering of Lambsbreath (Adam) and a smidgen of Hawk-Monitor (Dick).

Inside the Starkadder fold Flora encounters a resistance to dish washing modernity (the twig versus the hand mop); the rumor of an unmentionable misdeed once perpetrated against her father; the oft-cited permanence of the Starkadders on their environs; and the matriarch's frequently mentioned trauma after having witnessed a particularly odious occurrence inside the outdoor log pile storage facility ("...something nasty in the woodshed"). Undaunted, Flora presents a cool brow and an almost impervious demeanor plus an extremely persuasive power to influence. Within COLD COMFORT FARM, where high fashion and applied scientific reasoning smash headlong into arrested sociological development and stunted personal/ familial growth, tear-inducing laughter is the order of the day.

As mentioned in the comments of others, Ms. Beckinsale, clad in her natty period togs and radiating a winsome, unflappable aura (while also projecting a strangely prepubescent vibe), hasn't had as good a role since Flora. Meanwhile, those master thespians, Freddie Jones, Ian McKellan, and the inimitable Eileen Atkins nearly go mad with delight as they burrow gleefully into their characters. Rufus Sewell's Seth smolders hilariously while Stephen Fry's Mybug, "soaked in nature's fecund blessing", blusters uproariously. This sort of comedy of manners and cultural collision required an intelligent, perceptive and witty director. John Schlesinger (DARLING, 1965) fit the bill gloriously.


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