In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor.
During the early years of Nazi occupation of France in World War II, romance blooms between Lucile Angellier (Michelle Williams), a French villager, and Bruno von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts), a German soldier.
Kristin Scott Thomas,
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The story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba's choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love - as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance. Written by
Thomas Vinterberg invented the scene in which Sergeant Troy clutches Bathsheba's crotch - "the crew called it 'the Danish handshake'", he told, but Vinterberg suggested that he would have gone much further if it had been a Danish film. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, Bathsheba Everdene is shown riding along sidesaddle. Suddenly (probably to show her disregard of convention) she throws her leg across and gallops away astride, like a man. However, there is a lip on the off side of a side saddle that does not allow for comfortable cross-saddle riding. We see the saddle with its horn (leaping head), but we also see a stirrup on the off side. A sidesaddle does not have stirrups on both sides, only on the near side. See more »
"Bathsheba Everdene." "Bathsheba." The name has always sounded strange to me. I don't like to hear it said out loud. My parents died when I was very young, so there's no one to ask where it came from. I've grown accustomed to being on my own. Some say even too accustomed. Too independent.
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"I am a woman. It is my intention to astonish you all." Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan)
Thomas Hardy would make a fortune today writing soap opera period pieces like Far from the Madding Crowd for HBO. That's a compliment because this film is done with such restraint (far fewer gratuitous country-beautiful shots and more close ups) that it could have been set in any era and the human condition would be the same.
Besides its fidelity to the spirit of Hardy's typically bright, tough farm girl ("I have an education. Nothing else"), class division, complicated loves, Far offers a heroine, Bathsheba (well-cast, crooked smiling Mulligan) far ahead of her time (See the above quote). Although she doesn't want for suitors, she doesn't want to be subjugated by a husband either ("being some man's property"). Katherine Hepburn could have played this role.
As life and Hardy would have it, chance and human nature have their own agendas, and Bathsheba makes bad decisions based on youthful passion and naivetéHardy, frequently a figurative scold, makes sure she pays amply for her mistakes before he sets the balance right between fortune and misfortune. His more famous Tess of the d'Urbervilles is the finest example of the strong-willed, suffering heroine, who, because of weak men, is mercilessly buffeted by the fates and her own weakness.
One of Bathsheba's suitors, the painfully shy William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), personifies the aging Victorian society, bound in property and loneliness; to her he importunes, "I want very much to protect you for the rest of your life." However, the temporary prize of Bathsheba is given to the crimson-uniformed rake, Sergeant Francis Troy (Tom Sturridge), another character waiting for Hardy's punishment.
The obvious right guy for her is farmer Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), whose steadfast love for the heroine could only be compared to Job's suffering. To her he always speaks honestly and lovingly: "I'm not going to tell stories just to please you. You can be sure of that."
Far from the Madding Crowd is a crowd pleaser. Hardy would have loved the adaptation.
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