"I'm sure I'll find it very amusing," says Flora about her country adventure. So will viewers of this delightfully peculiar film, our free movie pick of the day. A charming 1995 BBC film based on Stella Gibbons' 1932 novel of the same name, 'Cold Comfort Farm' stars Kate Beckinsale as Flora Poste, a socialite and burgeoning young writer in early 20th century London who, after being orphaned, decides to throw herself at the mercy of eccentric relatives in the country.
"I'm sure I'll find it very amusing," says Flora about her country adventure. So will viewers of this delightfully peculiar film, our free movie pick of the day.
Flora is rightfully appalled upon seeing the squalid conditions of both the titular outpost and its eccentric inhabitants. Seems as though family matriarch Ada Doom (Sheila Burrell) saw something nasty in the woodshed 69 years ago and has not allowed any of Flora's cousins to leave the premises since.
The film, directed by John Schlesinger (the Academy Award-winning director of 'Midnight Cowboy') could be dismissed as impossibly quirky if it didn't have a stellar stable of British players to ground its idiosyncrasies in some weight. The cast includes the 'Absolutely Fabulous' Joanna Lumley as Flora's wonderfully droll confidante Mary, Eileen Atkins as Flora's tea leaves-reading cousin Judith, Ian McKellen as the hellfire and brimstone preacher Amos, a strapping Rufus Sewell as Judith's movie-loving son Seth, and Stephen Fry as slushy author Mybug, who has more than just a passing eye for Flora.
Beckinsale herself strikes a nice mix of openness and aplomb as Flora, who sets out to fix up both the rundown farm and its inhabitants upon arrival. And Malcolm Bradbury's brisk script is dotted with witty zingers, such as when the ambulant Mybug emerges from a brisk walk and declares that he is "soaked in nature's fecund blessing."