Cold Comfort Farm

7.21 h 45 min1995PG
Kate Beckinsale stars as Flora, a London society girl who moves to the country to live on a farm with her eccentric relatives in this heartwarming comedy full of charm and clever satire.
John Schlesinger
Eileen AtkinsKate BeckinsaleSheila Burrell
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Supporting actors
Stephen FryFreddie JonesJoanna LumleyIan McKellenRufus Sewell
John Schlesinger
Universal Pictures
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.6 out of 5 stars

1032 global ratings

  1. 82% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

LMSReviewed in the United States on October 21, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Meet the Starkadders.... a fun, fast, hysterical movie.
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Do yourself a favor and watch this- a FEW times!
This is a quirky movie. I started reading the book and could not understand the lingo! so I decided to rent this first. When I went back to read I had the conversations down and understood the premise.
I have to say first and foremost that this movie is from a book by the same name. Stella Gibbons was the Author and she wrote this in 1932. Her humor is BEYOND funny, if possible- dry and off beat. The intro to the book is hysterical and gives you a hint of the woman behind the story.
The movie is almost word for word according to the book...
Flora, about 23 years of age is from London. Without a job and only 100 pounds a year to live on, she decides to 'visit' and 'live off of' some relatives for a short while. Her criteria for picking these relatives require that they be in desperate need of change in their lives. Flora was good at helping people with change and felt she was doing a good deed by accomplishing this task, for Flora did not like anything out of sorts. She knew JUST how to fix and direct others in the way they should live and behave. When Flora accomplished this good deed she was satisfied and all was well!
Flora finds herself in Sussex at her relatives farm... Cold Comfort Farm- but this is no ordinary farm for the Starkadders live here, and there has ALWAYS been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm...
As you can imagine this film is filled with oddball characters with oddball names and ALL of them are terrified of their Aunt Ada who rules the roost!
Flora tends to all the characters in her loving sensible way in which mayhem and bizarre and silly humor abounds. This is a fast and fun movie with a feel good ending. I could easily see this becoming a cult film because of repeated lines, silly names and colorful characters.
Made for television, but released in the theaters, Cold Comfort Farm surpassed the projected outcome for this film. You might be surprised by the well known actors in this movie and some actors who have bit parts. They all do a superb job.
I would definitely have English subtitles when watching for the first time because Cold Comfort Farm language can be hard to decipher.
Definitely a movie I will watch again and again and those movies are hard to find- humor, decent language, fun characters, great actors... a good story!
42 people found this helpful
Erik PetersonReviewed in the United States on August 3, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
... English period piece is a delightful bit of escapist fun, with Kate Beckinsale perfectly cast as Miss Flora ...
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This comedic 1920's English period piece is a delightful bit of escapist fun, with Kate Beckinsale perfectly cast as Miss Flora Poste, a recently orphaned nineteen-year old city girl with a poetically refined sensibility, who suddenly finds herself living amongst her numerous rustic, eccentric, and most unreconstructed of rural relatives.

Kudos also for Joanna Lumley in her strong supporting role as Flora's London sophisticate of a mentor (the widow Mary Smiling), and especially for Ian McKellen's virtuoso performance, who virtually burns down the barn with his charismatic preacher-cum farm manager character, Amos Starkadder.

Lots of fun. Highly recommended..
18 people found this helpful
Chad MReviewed in the United States on February 24, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
People often seek adventure in life in their 20s. Society girls occasionally find this challenging.
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Delightful comedy. A London society girl moves to her cousin's farm and a clash of cultures occurs. Emily Post thinks the poverty of the farm and the frequent hopelessness of the people can be changed. In her view, she wants to learn about real life to become a writer and put her version of real life into books. The characters here truly are something to behold. The Victorian age type people of the British countryside are brought into modernity in ways that are like comedy gold. Characters, dialogue, plot, and British culture here are all top quality.
Patrick ClancyReviewed in the United States on October 19, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A pleasant film. Worth the time invested.
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A gentle TV movie comedy. No car crashes or superheroes. An early film for Kate Beckinsale and you could tell she was going to do well. I followed the film with reading the book. While the book was published in 1932 the setting was England in the 40's and there were references to things like a video phone and a war that never happened in real life. The author was projecting out into the future. Whether I missed this in the film or whether the director and screenwriter chose to drop it as an unnecessary plot complication, I don't know..
2 people found this helpful
ForeverYOUNGReviewed in the United States on August 8, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
cold comfort farm
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Purchased as a random gift for my daughter... we love this sort of off humor movie. It's really a sweet, english country side love story. Her husband was bored to tears - however, HIS favorite movie is the Good, the bad and the ugly. Just two different positions. I wish that Amazon would be able to get this on stream to purchase - which is how I mostly buy movies any more. No storage! And you can download anywhere. Anyway - this is and was a worthy watch and purchase.
One person found this helpful
Andrew JohnReviewed in the United States on September 23, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful British Comedy - Quirky, Witty, Funny
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" I saw something nasty in the woodshed".......

"There have ALWAYS been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm".....these two lines are repeated as a sort of litany throughout the film.

Very subtle British comedy. You will quickly realize in the opening seen that you are in for a very quirky brand of comedy as the delicious, lovely Joanna Lumley playing the character, Mary Smiling, piddles over her hobby with her butler. Her hobby is a collection of lady's corsets, bras, undergarments on partial mannikins. Mary Smiling, her character, of course, is always smiling. The names are very much tongue in cheek as well.

"Highly sexed young men living on farms are always named Seth or Ruben"..... [Flora Poste referring to cousins she has not yet met on Cold Comfort Farm.]

The film opens with about 50 seconds of black and white footage setting the history of the little girl who saw something nasty in the woodshed. That little girl is now elderly and uses whatever she saw in the woodshed as a lever and club over everyone's lives who lives with her on Cold Comfort Farm. Great Aunt Ada's (who saw something nasty in the woodshed when she was a little girl) worst fear is that her children and grandchildren will leave her alone on the farm.

Kate Beckinsale plays the role of Flora Poste, known throughout the film as "Robert Poste's child". Flora is recently orphaned in 1930's London when both her mother and father die at the same time. No relatives in London care to take her in as the estate only left her 100 pounds per year for her allowance. So, she stays with a friend in London while she writes letters to all of her relatives throughout Great Britain seeking the appropriate fit for the next stage of her life. Flora sorts through the responses from the relatives and chooses to go to Cold Comfort Farm with her cousins, the Starkadders. Fecundity rules as Flora leaves behind the societal refinement she enjoyed in the upper crust in London. Flora has ambitions to be a writer and believes she must experience "real life" (on a farm) in order to write about it. However, she has an ulterior motive. She possesses enough self awareness at a relatively young age to know something about herself. She likes to "tidy things up" that are messy. Thus, the untidy Cold Comfort Farm and the people who inhabit it seem an apropos challenge for her.


What I liked about the film is the trans-formative nature of Flora Poste, Beckinsale's character. Without being too much of a busybody she inserts herself into her unknown relatives' lives on Cold Comfort Farm and literally transforms the farm and all the people on it. It is a sheer joy to watch it unfold.
12 people found this helpful
Jackie SproatReviewed in the United States on August 12, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
See something nasty in the woodshed
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Saw this movie when HBO first aired it years ago and loved it immediately! I've been searching and searching for a copy of it in the local stores for ages and have never found one. Can't believe that so many people have never heard of this movie! It's absolutely hysterical and fun to watch again and again. It's got an all-star cast of British favorites that will have you giggling and repeating the family's mantras along with them. Eileen Atkins, Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen, Kate Beckinsale, Rufus Sewell, and Miriam Margolyes -- if you enjoy any of these actors' work, you'll love seeing them together in this movie!
22 people found this helpful
JoannaReviewed in the United States on October 15, 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
Laughter abounds at Cold Comfort Farm
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I found Cold Comfort Farm to be one of the most hilarious, clever and delightful film parodies I've ever seen.

It's brilliantly witty and full of outrageous stereotypes - the Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm, the bossy but charming cousin from London, the tyrannical grandmother, all wittily written and delightfully acted.
Kate Beckinsale is Flora Poste, a smart young thing from London at the end of the twenties who imagines herself a modern day Jane Austen. Orphaned at 23, she decides with Austenian zeal to 'tidy up all messes' - and this inclination starts with her desire to "smarten up" the lives of her distant country relations - the Starkadders on their surreal Gothic farm.

A riot of west country accents, witty jokes and bizarre personalities stand in her way - from the sex maddened Seth (the ever painfully beautiful Rufus Sewell) secretly in love with the talkies, his mystically inclined mother Judith - perpetually playing with tarot cards, to Ada the Great Matriarch who holds the family in a wild vise like grip, to Amos, Judith's husband (Ian McKellan)- a fire and brimstone preacher. Along with the advise of Mary Smiley -(the ever wonderful Joanna Lumley) a lovely and eccentric London society darling, Flora's attempts to create order from chaos fills the Starkadder family - and the audience - with pure laughter. This is satire at its best - not cynical so much as heartwarming and full of sincere charm!
Rufus Sewell shows yet again his too often overlooked flair for comedy - this film is absolutely fabulous!
4 people found this helpful
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