Cold Comfort Farm (1996)

John Schlesinger, of all people, directs this hilarious BBC and 
Thames Television-produced comedy about a tidy society girl (Kate 
Beckinsale) who moves to the country, to stay with relatives at a 
ramshackle family farm.  Recently orphaned, Miss Flora Poste has 
chosen Cold Comfort Farm as the place to begin collecting "life 
experiences" for use in a novel that she hopes to write.  ("One as 
good as 'Persuasion'," she notes.)  And, much like another Austen 
heroine, Ms. Poste is soon imposing upon her backwoods brethren the 
standards of style, manners, and hygiene.  (In a letter to London, 
she pleads "Send fashion magazines!") 

Though, at times, it tries too hard to be funny-- Eileen Atkins' 
Cousin Judith glares as if she were starring in a sequel to YOUNG 
FRANKENSTEIN-- this haughtier episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies" 
ultimately warms from within.  We're drawn into the characters and 
are soon laughing with them, as well as *at* them.  And laugh you 
will.  A scruffy Ian McKellan (RICHARD III) preaching fire-and-
brimstone to a quivering country congregation is alone worth the 
price of admission.  Also good is a GONE WITH THE WIND reference 
that happens later in the film.  Based on the 1932 book by Stella 
Gibbons.  (Rated "PG-13"/104 min.)

Grade: B+

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted on triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: June 16, 1996

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