Far From the Madding Crowd

"Excellent"

Far From the Madding Crowd Review


This new take on the Thomas Hardy classic vividly captures the story's modern themes through complex performances from a sharp cast. Hardy's story is twisty and surprising, a romance that certainly doesn't take the usual route to a happy ending. But even as it travels to some very dark places, we never give up hope that things will turn out right in the end. And the nuanced acting and filmmaking make it a fascinating, involving journey.

The story opens in the 1870s Dorset countryside, where Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) has gone to stay with her aunt. She can't help but notice the hunky farmer Gabriel Oak (Matthias Shoenaerts) next door, and he notices her too, proposing marriage. But she wants to live an independent life, so she turns him down. Some time later in another place they meet by chance, after she has inherited a farm that he helps save from a fire. She hires him to manage the farm, but he now has a love rival in the form of wealthy older neighbour William Boldwood (Michael Sheen). Then swashbuckling young soldier Francis Troy (Tom Sturridge) turns up, catching Bathsheba's eye. With three suitors to choose from, she still refuses to let a man define her. But she also knows that she can't hold out forever.

Yes, these are essentially the three types of man: good, safe and sexy. So Bathsheba's decision won't be easy. Or at least it shouldn't be. The problem here is that Schoenaerts has such a stunning, beefy on screen presence that the choice is a no-brainer (frankly, he's even more beautiful than the women in the film). This actually makes us yell at the screen as we watch Bathsheba give in to the swaggering Sturridge's far more outrageous flirtation. And the soulful Sheen's presence inspires a wave of sympathy. In other words, we get sucked straight into the melodrama, which plays out with Hardy's usual collections of coincidences, as fate seems to conspire to push people one way or another.

At the centre, Mulligan gives a revelatory performance as the fiercely self-reliant Bathsheba, a woman far ahead of her time. This is a woman who refuses to become a man's property at a time when that was expected. And Carey's work is so strikingly textured that it deserves to be remembered come awards season. And it's augmented by the remarkably approach of gifted Danish director Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt) and writer David Nicholls (One Day), who don't miss the point that the male ego has continued to make sure that women aren't fully equal even today.


Far From the Madding Crowd Trailer

 



Far From the Madding Crowd

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st May 2015

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Allon Reich

Starring: as Bathsheba Everdene, as Fanny Robin, as William Boldwood, as Sergeant Troy, as Gabriel Oak, as Jacob Smallbury, as Upper class party guest, Richard Dixon as Boldwood's Butler, Jamie Lee-Hill as Laban Tall, David Golt as Market Con Man, Eloise Oliver as Dancer, Ashley Whiteman as Everdene Farm Worker

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