Cold Comfort Farm
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -1

Essentially a fish out of water tale, COLD COMFORT FARM, based on Stella Gibbons' novel, has a twist - the outsider transforms everyone to her way of thinking. Set in 1930s England, the comedy centers on headstrong, sophisticated Flora Poste (Kate Beckinsale), a young woman suddenly orphaned. Seeking aid from distant relations, she takes refuge at the Sussex county farm of melancholy cousin Judith Starkadder (Eileen Atkins), whose family owes an unspoken debt to Flora's father. Not satisfied with the chaotic and dingy atmosphere on the farm, Flora sets about changing the attitudes and directions of the Starkadders. Family members include fire-and-brimstone preaching father Amos (Ian McKellen) and his sons, kindly Reuben (Ivan Kaye) and handsome Seth (Rufus Sewell). The toughest nut to crack, however, is aptly named matriarch Ada Doom (Sheila Burrell). Ada hangs onto her family with an iron grip and is haunted by a memory of seeing something nasty in the woodshed as a child. The story has some charm and humor, but the coarse, dull-witted character of the Starkadder family, best described as English hillbilly, is frequently so exaggerated that it stretches believability.

This most gentle comedy wanders into questionable areas in its depiction of two potentially strong characters. Seth, the only Starkadder without a quirky personality, is nevertheless depicted as a philanderer with a long string of female conquests. In his very first scene we can hear Seth having sex with a young lady in the barn. Particularly objectionable is the portrayal of father Amos, who sermonizes at a small church. His condemnatory preaching style is played entirely for comic effect, with the congregation quivering and cowering at his every word. Needless to say, it's not a very sympathetic portrayal of the one religious element in COLD COMFORT FARM. Also, two regular profanities and several mild crudities are included in the dialogue.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Distributor: Gramercy Pictures, 9247 Alden Drive, Beverly Hills CA 90210

Crude Language: Several (6) times - Mild
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Twice - Regular
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Implied once off-screen (indicated by sounds)
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Many times (drinking at parties)
Other: Character uses tarot cards; unsympathetic portrayal of preacher and his congregation
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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