“FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD” (2015) Fox Searchlight

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Release date: Friday, May 1st, 2015 in select theatres

Being the film adaptation of a book I read so long ago by Thomas Hardy, that I couldn’t really remember the entire plot. And I’m glad because this film reminded me of what stunning story this literary classic really truly is.

Not being a romantic film lover by nature, I will say this film completely surprised me out of the blue of how much I truly liked it.
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For those of you who like me, might not remember this story, or have never read it at all, it’s the story of the inordinately named “Bathsheba Everdene” (Carey Mulligan) a headstrong, and independent woman who within a short period of time, attracts the proposals of three very different men the times being what they were and all. The first, a sheep farmer named “Gabriel Oak” (Matthias Schoenaerts), then “William Boldwood” (Michael Sheen), a wealthy, older bachelor who owns the farm next to the one Bathsheba has inherited from her uncle who passed, and lastly, the oh-so-handsome, though completely reckless gambler, “Sergeant Frank Troy” (Tom Sturridge).
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Mulligan really does a fine job here considering the original film had the wonderful Julie Christie in the same role. She comes across as clever and strong, so quick in her feelings, expressing in clear voice when noting to her suitors that she has no need to be married or owned by a man as she puts it bluntly. Haughty, yet at the same time, fickle and so vulnerable and silly in her choices at times she holds all the contradictions of this character very well.
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Of the three suitors, Michael Sheen stands out the most as he is so convincing in his adoration of Bathsheba, you can hardly watch as you feel his torment wafting over you. Flashy, and very much the cad, is Sturridge, who dreamy good looks, don’t change the fact that you just don’t like his character much even though you completely get why she falls for him because at the beginning he challenges her and her feelings like the others have not. When the mistake of this relationship is realized, we go back to our hero, the ever faithful Mr. Oak, played well here by go-to good looking man of the moment, Matthias Schoenaerts. From moment one, when he bashfully gains the courage to ask her to marry him after meeting only once, you spend the whole film rooting for her to just come to her senses already and see what has always been standing right in front of her. Him.

This film definitely does the book justice and I loved the many plot twists and turns the story takes. It’s a wonderful ride and visually stunning. For a self-professed non-romantic film lover such as myself, this movie was simply beautiful to me.

Grade: B

Screening: Thursday, April 23, 2015 at Arclight Sherman Oaks

*see ratings scale*

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