Far From the Madding Crowd

The new movie, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, is fourth film version of a popular 19th century novel by Thomas Hardy. The film offers lush cinematography and superb acting but its storyline is a cross between a romance novel and a soap opera.

A strong, independent woman is pursued by three very different men. Which will she choose?

British actress Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene, a strong, independent young woman who inherits a sheep farm in rural England. She’s attractive, feisty, and impulsive. And she’s ahead of her time in the way she stands up for womanhood.

Bathsheba: It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in a language chiefly made by men to express theirs.

Bathsheba (to her employees) : From now on you have a mistress not a master, and it is my intention to astonish you all.

Her first suitor is Gabriel Oak, a wise shepherd played by Matthias Schoenaerts.

Gabriel: Miss Bathsheba Eberdene, would you like to marry me?

Bathesheba: I’m sorry; I don’t want a husband. If I ever wanted to marry, I’d want someone who could tame me, and you’d never be able to do it.

The second suitor is a wealthy landowner William Boldwood, well played by Michael Sheen.

Boldwood: Miss Eberdene, I want very much to have you as my wife…I’m a middle aged man willing to protect you for the rest of your life.

Bathsheba rejects him, too, but then she meets Tom Sturridge as Troy, a handsome soldier who knows how to handle a sword. And you may be able to tell from this next bit of dialog whether you’d like this movie or not:

Troy: There must be some man who tells you you’re beautiful.

Bathsheba: No, not to my face.

Troy: But there is someone who kisses you.

Bathsheba: I’ve never been kissed.

Of course, the dashing Troy is trouble, but how can she resist the lure of passion?

Overall, I enjoyed watching FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD even though I think its characters are far more engaging than its simplistic plot.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.