|FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (director: Thomas Vinterberg; screenwriters: David Nicholls/from a Thomas Hardy novel; cinematographer: Charlotte Bruus Chistensen; editor: Claire Simpson; music: Craig Armstrong; cast: Carey Mulligan (Bathsheba Everdene), Matthias Schoenaerts (Gabriel Oak), Michael Sheen (William Boldwood), Tom Sturridge (Sgt. Francis Troy), Juno Temple (Fanny Robbin), Jessica Barden (Liddy); Runtime: 119; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Allen Reich/Andrew Macdonald; Fox Searchlight; 2015-UK/USA)|
|"It's a fine
adaptation of the classic."
by Dennis Schwartz
sumptuous painterly 18th century period literary
bodice ripper is based on the 1874 novel by Thomas
Hardy. The talented Danish born filmmaker Thomas
Vinterberg ("The Hunt"/"Dear Wendy"/"The
Celebration") and screenwriter David Nicholls update
it with some modern-day feminist touches. It's a fine
adaptation of the classic, and Carey Mulligan brings
it to its romantic crescendo with a bravura
resilient orphan, Bathsheba Everdene
(Carey Mulligan), lives on her
impoverished farm in Dorset, in 1798. The young
free-spirited Victorian woman refuses to marry her
handsome low-born, man of the land, sheepherder
neighbor Gabriel Oak (Matthias
Schoenaerts) because she wants to be
independent in her patriarchal society and feels he
doesn't have it in him to tame her.
fortune changes when she inherits her uncle's vast but
rundown estate in Dorset and is determined to restore
it to its past glory.
Bathsheba flirts with her older wealthy gentleman
farmer neighbor William Boldwood (Michael
Sheen) and gets the stiff character to propose,
she also rejects him rather than become another piece
of his property.
bold lady next has a go with a chivalrous dashing
seductive soldier, Sergeant Troy (Tom
Sturridge), who is always in his bright red coat. When
Bathsheba agrees to meet him in a dark forest, all he
cares to do is to slice off a lock of her hair with
his sword. He mistakenly turns out to be the one she
marries and his caddish nature soon is revealed, as he
acts like a pompous asshole lording it over his
subjects on the estate and freely spends her money
without helping on the large farm.
Bathsheba turns a blind eye that her Mr. Right, Gabriel, is now working for her, and ferociously accepts her self-inflicting bad decisions without being cynical or losing her independent spirit.
There have been three previous movie adaptations of Thomas Hardy's breakthrough fourth novel, including the lethargic 1967 John Schlesinger movie starring Julie Christie, but Vinterberg's interpretation is both the freshest and most accomplished.
REVIEWED ON 11/17/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ