Cold Comfort Farm (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cold Comfort Farm (1996)



Critic Consensus: Cold Comfort Farm sends up high-minded classics with a wit and impressive restraint that rivals its inspirations.

Movie Info

In 1930s England, Flora, a sophisticated young woman suddenly left penniless, seeks refuge with her eccentric relatives at the extremely shabby Cold Comfort Farm. Her presence disturbs and ultimately reinvigorates the torpid household in this witty, literary comedy, which parodies the works of Jane Austen and numerous other English novelists.

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Kate Beckinsale
as Flora Poste
Joanna Lumley
as Mrs. Smiling
Ian McKellen
as Amos Starkadder
Eileen Atkins
as Judith Starkadder
Freddie Jones
as Adam Lambsbreath
Ivan Kaye
as Reuben
Rupert Penry-Jones
as Dick Hawk-Monitor
Christopher Bowen
as Charles Fairford
Miriam Margolyes
as Mrs. Beetle
Louise Rea
as Meriam Beetle
Angela Thorne
as Mrs. Hawk-Monitor
Tim Myers
as Mr. Hawk-Monitor
Harry Ditson
as Earl P. Neck
Frederick Jaeger
as Doctor Adolf Mudel
Pat Keen
as Aunt Gwen
Robert James
as Mr. McKnag
Susannah Morley
as Mrs. Murther
Richard Bebb
as Hawk-Monitor Butler
Basil Hoskins
as Couturier
Allison Roberts
as Girl in Hayloft
Ninka Scott
as Tea Shop Waitress
Myfanwy Hill
as Young Ada Doom
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Critic Reviews for Cold Comfort Farm

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (13)

Malcolm Bradbury's script and John Schlesinger's direction ... between them coarsen, soften and simply lose much of Gibbons' extraordinarily sophisticated, wonderfully funny humour ...

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Schelsinger's masterfully directed eccentric satire is based on Stella Gibbons' 1933 book which spoofs the serious, soul-searching, rural-set stories of writers like D.H. Lawrence and Mary Webb.

June 2, 2006 | Rating: 4.5/5
Top Critic

What could be more welcome than a classic English comedy, bristling with wit and hilarity and crammed with wonderful eccentrics?

February 14, 2001 | Full Review…

Dickens meets the Beverly Hillbillies.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4
Top Critic

The movie, based on the famous comic novel by Stella Gibbons, is dour, eccentric and very funny, and depends on the British gift for treating madness as good common sense.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

"Cold Comfort Farm" may be hysterically funny to regular readers of Hardy, Lawrence, Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, but it won't ring many bells for the rest of us.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cold Comfort Farm


Cold Comfort Farm is a delightful tale based on the book of the same name. Set in the 1940s, this story about a young orphaned girl who goes off to live with her distant relatives and bring happiness into their lives was a joy to watch. Kate Beckinsale really impresses here, as does the rest of the cast. Favorites like Ian Mckellen and Rupert Sewell also pop in the supporting cast and give terrific performances. The cinematography is just gorgeous. The big city scenes and the down-home country scenes really work well together, for a lovely blend of old-fashioned 40's mixed with ideal country establishment. The score is also noteworthy as it really lends itself to the story, giving it a peppy and upbeat feeling that is never tiresome and somehow keeps the story grounded, rather than fleeting. My only real problem with the film I guess would be the beginning of the story, as it is a bit slow to get going. The opening shot of the film of a young girl "seeing something nasty in the work shed" isn't really necessary at all. Furthermore, that whole idea that the film is centered around is never resolved, even though it plays a major part, so for me, that opening doesn't feel appropriate for this movie. Also, the sudden changes and motives in the film's characters, particularly Aunt Aida, are very sudden and not given much lead-in, but then again, perhaps they aren't necessary. I just felt that the characters in the movie change their minds rather quickly without much forethought. Still, the film is very enjoyable and delightful, as I've said before. It's always nice to see a film about people who change their lives for the better, particularly in such an upbeat and pleasant way.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

Fantastically funny.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer


This film is a lot of fun and has a cast of brilliant British actors. Everyone is great, but especially fun is the cameo by Joanna Lumley as the Aunt with a passion for bustiers & bra's. And when I say "passion" I mean that she has a vertiable museum of them in her home and speaks about them each as if they were her lovers. I saw something nasty in the wood shed!

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer

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