Far From the Madding Crowd: Film Review

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I don’t always love a period drama but this adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel feels so contemporary with its strong, complex female character Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who inherits a farm in a man’s world and is asked for her hand in marriage by three very different suitors – a sheep farmer (Matthias Shoenaerts), her wealthy neighbour (Michael Sheen) and a soldier (Tom Sturridge) – but who will she pick?

I knew nothing of the novel or the previous film adaptation (in 1967 with Julie Christie) and while the endgame was fairly obvious, the twists and turns of the movie were both surprising and interesting. I did not guess who she would pick, or the events that happen after.  I was fascinated throughout, simply because Bathsheba is so complicated and the three men are also very well written. None of the major players lack depth and they are all so distinctly different.

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I love how headstrong Bathsheba is considering it is such an old story. Her struggle over losing her independence for a man is very modern and I’m sure many can relate. Mulligan was so good and her character had many different shades while looking totally stunning in those wonderful costumes. I also thought the male roles were perfectly cast. I couldn’t imagine anyone else in those parts.

The film looked amazing with vast green English landscapes, the dialogue was solid and it never felt too slow. I loved the use of animals and the humour, but most of all I loved Mulligan and her Bathsheba, who was just a joy to watch.

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