Film Review – Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

Far from - post

Title – Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

Director – Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt)

Cast – Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple

Plot – In the Victorian era of England, new farm owner and independent woman Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) finds her life complicated by the fact farm hand Gabriel Oak (Schoenaerts), farm owner William Boldwood (Sheen) and young soldier Francis Troy (Sturridge) have all fallen under her spell and would each like to have Bathsheba as their wife.

“I shouldn’t mind being a bride at a wedding if I could be one without getting a husband!”

Review by Eddie on 23/03/2016

There’s certainly no shortage of drama going on in Far From the Madding Crowd, so much so that ardent watchers of BBC dramas and period pieces will be lapping up and loving every well framed minute of famed The Hunt director Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s revered novel to levels that will likely see Crowd be found on your grandparents Downtown Abby clad DVD shelf for years to come.

While the love will abound from adorers of dramatic romances (and when I say dramatic I mean every single frame here seems to hold more drama than a full season of Home and Away) it’s got nothing on the amount of love that runs through Hardy’s tale and Vinterberg’s directional take as Carey Mulligan’s determined Bathsheba Everdene fends off romantic advances from men of all shapes and sizes whilst surrounded by the green pastures of England of old.

Acquitting herself well to yet another similarly themed role as the at times frustrating Bathsheba (a romantic choice Bathsheba makes is an almost “oh come on” moment) Mulligan is a likeable figure in a time that rarely saw women stick it to the men and she’s ably supported by Matthias Schoenaerts kindly shepherd Gabriel and Michael Sheen’s somewhat underused statesman William Boldwood while young British actor Tom Sturridge overplays it as the thoroughly unlikeable Francis Troy. It’s a loaded narrative and arc of romance and choices and it’s perhaps worthy of a longer take as Vinterberg’s film fly’s from scene to scene and sometimes we barely get to understand character decisions and motivations but for the thousands upon thousands of fans of Hardy’s book this will likely not be a major problem.

A curious career choice for Vinterberg who has found a name for himself in the European arthouse scene and supporter of the dogma movement, Crowd is a visually pleasing and generally well-acted melodrama that as an added bonus (for cinematic kissing fans) features what could well be 2015’s most intense big screen pash and while it may not be the quintessential treatment of Hardy’s novel it’s an enjoyable and never dull period piece that never outstays its welcome.

3 ½ bloated sheep out of 5

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12 responses to “Film Review – Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

  1. Fair review. I liked the film mostly because of Gabriel and Bathsheba’s chemistry. The other love interests weren’t handled well but I liked the main couple enough to embrace the film. Also I loved the cinematography, music and costumes. Anyway not perfect but I liked it.

  2. I think this is one of the most accurate reviews of the film that I have come across. I felt that at times Mulligan’s need to portray Bathsheba as the strong female that she was detracted her from being able to portray the most basic of connections with all her male co-stars, often demonstrating such a stagnant performance in the romantic sections. I think that in terms of scenery it was absolutely phenomenal, not my favourite film but I enjoyed it in my 11 hour flight to Mozambique.

  3. Hey Eddie! Love, love, looove this movie! I am not a big fan of Mulligan in general, but I think she made a great Bathsheba! And I just have to say it once again…Schoenaerts is simply an amazing actor! Haha

    • Hi Maria – good to hear from you again! Mulligan is a pretty consistent actress I must give her that, and of course old Schoenaerts is quite the presence ha.
      E

  4. All I learned from this film is that sheep are more trouble than they’re worth, not to marry the first man who fingers you in the bushes and that if they tell you your husband is dead, ask to see the body.

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