Reviewed by: Doug Mattox
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Ian McKellen, Rufus Sewell, Eileen Atkins, Sheila Burrell, Stephen Fry, Freddie Jones, Joanna Lumley, Miriam Margolyes | Director: John Schlesinger | Writer: Malcolm Bradbury
“She went searching for her roots. But all she found was dirt.”
“Cold Comfort Farm” is a quirky English romantic comedy, set in the 1920s, about a twentyish woman (Kate Beckinsale) whose parents have both died and therefore needs to be provided for. Naturally, it should be the duty of a relative and she decides to choose from those who write letters of condolence. She chooses the most curious respondent, a distant relative at a forsaken, rundown farm of the title name. She reasons this will give her suitable background to become a Jane Austen-like writer, which ambition has left her resolved never to marry.
The audience is forewarned that, she “can’t abide messes,” so she takes to setting the place right. In doing so, she interacts in a positive way with the odd assortment of inhabitants of the farm.
Objectionable are the shallow morals of the back country poor folk, including one scene where an illicit liaison is discovered on entering a barn. Nothing graphic here, although there is fleeting nudity when a particularly unkept farm girl is reluctantly bathed for a special occasion.
Don’t expect answers to all the questions the movie raises. It’s essentially whimsical.