Saturday, December 19

Far From the Madding Crowd

Bathsheba Everdene is an orphan girl who is quite independent in her ways. One winter, she encounters Gabriel Oak, a shepherd who becomes smitten with her. When he proposes to marry her, she rejects him saying that she has no need for a husband. This is where the film begins; the journey of Bathsheba and her tangling fate with Mr. Oak, as well as her journey to love.

I had no idea what to expect from this film. I watched it because it got good ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and I was in the mood for what I thought was a soppy dramatic film with lots of ‘woe is me’ moments. I didn’t get that, rather what I saw was a romantic love story between two people and the eventual development of their relationship. 

I really liked Carey Mulligan in this. She portrayed her character really well, going through the motions as demanded by the role. Bathsheba is a well-rounded character as well. She had her strengths and she was still written with flaws, but her weaknesses did not define her. Rather, it even exemplified her strengths. It wasn’t difficult to root for her happiness. 

The men Bathsheba encounters in the story were symbolic of her character. There’s Gabriel Oak, who she would most relate with. They had a humble beginning, and knew their standing against each other, even when their roles were reversed. Their social class wasn’t in much consideration when they had formed an alliance. It’s evident in the tones their character used that they personally viewed each other as equals even if status dictates otherwise. Then there was William Boldwood, a man she would typically end up with. A stand up citizen, a landowner like her, he would be the perfect match for her. Then there’s Frank Troy, who displayed the wild, independent side of her, an adventure she was looking for. As her interactions with her suitors played onscreen, it was easy to discern the changes going through the character. 

The men were good in their roles – particularly Matthias Schoenaerts. This was his first movie of his I’ve seen and I liked him here. I’m waiting to watch his film with Tilda Swinton in particular, but might have a go with his other works. Michael Sheen doesn’t seem so out of the element, he seemed perfectly cast in the role. Tom Sturridge though had an interesting, heartbreaking backstory and I liked that it was included here to give him some sort of reason for his motives. 

This was a great film and quite underseen, in my opinion. I watched this along with Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (it felt right to pick up the latter film after watching the former). It’s not sappy, and is interesting throughout. 

Final Word: I think I liked this a whole lot better because I didn’t know what exactly to expect from it. 

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Shoenaerts, Michael Sheen
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Year: 2015

6 comments:

  1. Great write up. I didn't see this one in theaters, though mine had it for awhile. I do like Mulligan though, she was so good in Suffragette this year, it's a shame she's not getting more attention for it.

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    1. I have yet to see Suffragette, but I did like her here (which is rare in my case because I don't seem to like her in most films).

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  2. I loved Sheen in this, but the main heroine's choices were continuously irritating to me. I felt so bad for the man who ended up with her.

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    1. Her character seems so unclear, her decisions do seem to be all over the place.

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  3. I've been meaning to watch this one and your review has sold me! Great post :)

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