Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Far From the Madding Crowd

I had doubts about this film before I went, but I loved it, I should point out though that all my opinions of it are coloured by comparison with the original, so I am not exactly judging it as a freestanding entity.

The casting was what worried me most before going. I thought the actress taking the Bathsheba part might be a bit wispy for the role - although, looking back at the 1967 version, I now see that Julie Christie was pretty peculiar in the role and Carey Mulligan actually makes a better fist of it. Even better was Michael Sheen as her rich, unrequited suitor, a more poignant performance than Peter Finch's in the earlier film, I thought. The landscape was gorgeous, the character of Troy was allowed more complexity than in the original. In a way, Matthias Schoenarts as Gabriel might be seen as a bit of a mistake, in that it is hard to imagine anyone would actually turn him down at any stage, whereas Alan Bates somehow managed to be the right man in the end without straining the audience's belief when Bathsheba rejects him at the start.

I wondered about some of Bathsheba's costumes in the current version. Her work dress appears to be made out of denim, which I had imagined was a recent import to the English speaking world as clothing. I presume though that this is a sign of my ignorance and research proves that denim was the fabric used for work clothes for women at the time the novel is set.

The film is entertaining and beautiful to look at, the landscape shots are lovely and several sequences involving characters galloping about on horses almost inspired me to start riding again.


  1. The opening titles of the movie identified the year as 1870-something, when the book was published. The introduction to the Penguin edition somewhere around the house sets in the 1830s or 1840s. I am not the sociologist of rural England that could say which is correct, but I would tend to trust Penguin's introducers over Hollywood's writers. I did enjoy the move.

  2. I think I was staring crossly at the person nearby who'd decided to make a lot of noise with cellophane as the titles came up, so I missed that. The film was entertaining, but really it goes against the grain with me to admit to enjoying it. I wish they'd make up their own films and leave good books alone. Books are always so much denser, the plot is just the spine, with so much else to nourish the mind besides. Films strip most of the good stuff away. But still, it made me cry at times and it was beautiful. A pleasant hour or two was passed