Country: UK / USA
Movie Review: Carey Mulligan gives a resplendent performance in “Far From The Madding Crowd”, the newest adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel of the same name, this time written by David Nicholls and directed by the Danish Thomas Vinterberg (“The Celebration”, “The Hunt”). This same novel had been adapted to the big screen for several times, with the John Schlesinger’s 1967 version, starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Terrence Stamp, and Peter Finch, being the most successful one. Vinterberg’s modern adaptation was set with dignity, bestowing the required variations in mood, tenderness, and passion without falling in tear-jerking schemes. I have to give him the merit for maintaining high levels of interest and motivation in the story, from start to finish. With the rustic visuals of Victorian England’s countryside as background, Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan), a beautiful, progressive, and independent woman, refuses to get married with her aunt’s neighbor, the young shepherd, Gabriel Oak (Mathias Schoenaerts), even nurturing some affection for him. All of a sudden, the latter falls into ruin and moves to a contiguous land, exactly where Bathsheba inherited the best farm from an uncle. After meeting again, they become the closest friends and the loyal Gabriel agrees to work for her. His quietness doesn’t conceal his passion, however, his patient heart is crushed when two other suitors start to court Miss Everdene. One is a nervously obsessive wealthy man called Boldwood (Michael Sheen), the other is the broken yet dauntless Sergeant Troy (Tom Sturridge), a master in swordsmanship whose bitterness thickens day by day since he was far from his true love, Fanny Robbin (Juno Temple). Uninventive but charming, this opportune, nice-looking film adds appreciable value to the uncertain romantic dramas that keep arriving in theaters.