Dave Oh's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Far From the Madding Crowd
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Far from the Madding Crowd is a beautiful screen adaptation - though by no means the first - of Thomas Hardy's classic novel of the same name. The story is told like a parable of the choices made in life for love and presents three very different, archetypal suitors for the fiercely independent Bathsheba Everdene, who, though coming across at first as being haughty, is imbued in the movie played by Carey Mulligan with qualities of girl-next-doorness, charm, intelligence, wit and roll-up-the-sleeves pragmatism that make her impossible for whom not to fall. The cinematography is astounding. The story tugs at the audience's hearts and forces us to stratify our allegiances with the characters early on - protagonist vs. antagonist, good guy vs. bad guy - in classic literary form. The only subjectively ambiguous character seems to be the stoic William Boldwood; while it is apparent that he sincerely loves Bathsheba, would make a good husband for her and would provide her with a stable and affluent if boring life, things probably prized in Victorian England, deep inside the soft-spoken man hides one driven by intense jealousy of the seductive Type-A character of Sergeant Francis Troy. What is most satisfying about this story is to see the fruits of the humble shepherd labourer's steady and loyal friendship come to bear and, after advising his employer only to do the right thing, having her do so.

If there is only one negative of the movie, it is that there is an ambiguous progress of time; events that take place over years are made to appear like they do overnight or just within days or weeks. There are some holes where I felt longing for some more context, character development and the tangible feeling of the passage of time; thus, some parts of the movie and story feel rushed to reach a conclusion and move on. Far be it to complain that the running time just shy of 2 hours is too short, the 1967 version of the 460-odd page original novel ran for nearly three.

Definitely a movie for which to look out in Oscar season for cinematography, costume and Best Actor/Actress roles for Mulligan, Schoenaerts and Sheen.