FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

★★★

A GRAND, ROMANTIC CLASSIC

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
21st June 2015

Thomas Vinterberg, the directer of ‘The Hunt’, David Nicholls, author of ‘One Day’, and the wondrous cast of Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge have all coming together to make a Thomas Hardy novel - um, yes please, where do I sign?

In the 140 years since Hardy’s novel was published, this is only the fourth film adaptation. While the 1967 version starring Julie Christie is, to date, the most praised and admired, I myself am unfamiliar with the source material and the 60s film, leaving me to view this as it should - on its own merits.

'FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD' TRAILER

Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) is a fiercely independent free spirit who captures the attention of farmer Gabriel Oak (Schoenaerts) while working on her aunt's farm. After refusing his proposal, circumstances change for the both of them - Bathsheba inherits her own farm, becoming quite wealthy while Mr Oak loses his and comes, by sheer happenstance, to work for Bathsheba as her shepherd and cementing their somewhat tempestuous friendship. Also refusing the courtship of her new wealthy neighbour Mr Boldwood (Sheen), Bathsheba eventually marries a charismatic soldier Sergeant Troy (Sturridge). Their marriage, however, is marred by gambling debts and a past relationship that impacts their current situation. The third and final act of the film brings all three relationships together is a most dramatic and unexpected manner.

This film brings together an emotionally divisive yet surprisingly satisfactory love quartet.

With a genetically blessed and equally talented cast, stunning cinematography, landscapes and unparalleled romances and obstacles that only a pastoral tale of the late 19th century can conjure, this film brings together an emotionally divisive yet surprisingly satisfactory love quartet.

Grand and romantic as it should be, ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ isn’t flawed by sentimentality or shying away from the story’s harsh moments. The film thrives on the two leads' chemistry and Mulligan’s unabashed on-screen prowess in a corset. She is simply stunning in every aspect - perhaps more than she ever has been - wrapped in this gripping and layered character.

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