Swede Caroline


There’s something typically British about a fete. Where home baked goods, such as preserves and jams, can be bought, games can be played such as racing with eggs on spoons, and raffles entered, as well as counting how many Smarties there are in a jar.

But the jewel in any fete crown is the vegetable competition, where members of the community have spent the best part of the year doing all they can to grow the biggest veg for the show.

Taking this as its main inspiration is this very British comedy, which sees a documentary camera crew follow some very peculiar goings-on at a giant vegetable growing competition.

boom reviews Swede Caroline
So this is the table we made for the pixies where they have their afternoon tea.

The British can get very passionate about their gardens, tending to them constantly, popping down to the local garden centre at the weekend for more plants to put in the ground.

But some people take it to another level, like Caroline (Jo Hartley); she’s competing in the local veg growing competition, where she’s vying for the crown of biggest marrow grower.

But one night, her prized marrow Gary, who she has high hopes for, is stolen from her greenhouse. This leads her, and her two male friends Paul (Richard Lumsden) and Willy (Celyn Jones) down a very dark path involving wife swapping parties, a mysterious Swedish woman and some very large vegetables.

boom reviews Swede Caroline
She said it was just modelling. But naked. With four other men in her.

Within moments of this film starting, it has the look of the vegetable equivalent of Best in Show, which although clearly not original, it would have been a fun path to follow. Unfortunately not long after, it gets far too convoluted, getting further and further away from what made it such a charming premise in the first place.

On top of that, the mechanic of it being a mocumentary just doesn’t work; it adds nothing at all to the over tone of the piece, other than the ability to allow characters to talk to camera. The problem is, the film would have been far more cohesive without it, and it essentially holds the narrative back.

Directors Finn Bruce and Brook Driver (who also wrote the screenplay) can be given a certain amount of slack, seeing this is their directorial debut, but there’s no denying it could have been a lot funnier if they didn’t complicate matters unnecessarily.

Where the film does work is with its three central characters in Caroline, Richard and Willy and their supposed cuckold relationship. Jones is especially watchable with his deliciously quirky Willy, as both he and Richard fawn over Caroline relentlessly.

It’s by no means a prize winner, but there’s enough here with the kind of British humour that, if it’s your cup of Earl Grey, just might grow on you.

we give this three out of five