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Far From the Madding Crowd



Name: Far from the Madding Crowd

Release Date: May 14, 2015

Dramatis Personae: Carey Mulligan, who has lent her crisp English vowels to a number of period dramas, including Pride and Prejudice, returns to familiar territory as Bathsheba Everdene (great-great-aunt of Katniss?) in the novel that made Thomas Hardy famous in the late 19th century. Her suitors-in-waiting will be played by Matthias Schoeharts, Michael Sheen (Tony Blair, Brian Clough, David Frost) and Tom Sturridge.

Three guys and a girl? This better not be the Victorian John Tucker Must Die in reverse… Nope, no cheesy rom-com here. Bathsheba was considered unique and highly unconventional for her time. “Headstrong” would be the adjective of choice in 1874.

Okay, but in a won’t-marry-the-local-squire type way, right? Well, not quite. She won’t marry the shepherd. She rejects the approach of Gabriel Oak (Schoeharts) because she doesn’t want to be tied down, which proves to be a pretty good call as she goes on to inherit her uncle’s estate, and fully intends to “astonish” everyone with her capacity to manage it.

And no doubt attract some opportunistic bounders in the process? Coming into the love picture are the brooding William Boldwood (Sheen) and Sergeant Troy (Sturridge), who has a rather interesting history, who both attempt to sweep Bathsheba off her feet – with varying results.

We’re not short of 19th century adaptations. What makes this one worth the trip to the cinema? With all the Avengers and Fantastic Fours, this is a breath of fresh (West Country) air from your quintessential summer blockbuster. It’s certainly made for those who enjoy quality acting, and for the more aesthetically-inclined, the sublime English countryside.

In a nutshell: “Good hunting, Ms Everdene” – got that right!

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