Far From the Madding Crowd

Every once in a while I get a feeling and that feeling leads me to watch movies I otherwise normally wouldn’t watch. That feeling has rarely, if ever, let me down.

Far From the Madding Crowd

I remember sitting in the theater, several times in fact, and the trailer for Far From the Madding Crowd (Madding not Maddening) would play and it would catch my attention. The first time I quite easily forgot it, period pieces aren’t always something I find myself interested in because I can’t identify with the time period, hell sometimes I can’t even identify with this time period. By the second or third time of seeing the trailer, and a bit of research, I decided to see this movie, and at the point at which I did see it I was quite aware that it was an adaptation of a book. But it isn’t the first adaptation, or the second or third even. No this was the fifth time that this novel was adapted for film, with the fourth one being an adaptation of an adaptation (a comic serial).

This had me asking myself; what was so damn special about this story?

So I went to go see it by myself, not about to ask someone else to sit through something they probably wouldn’t enjoy, and I found myself engrossed in its tale. The beauty of the scenery which delicately portrayed Victorian England. Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan, and for a long time I seriously thought that this was Katie Holmes) is a young woman who has lived with her aunt for a while, working on the woman’s farm for a living, and is quite the independent woman in a time of subservience to men simply for having a pair of breasts. One day, while riding her horse, she loses her scarf and a handsome, and successful, sheep herder named Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) finds it and returns it to her. A flirtation begins between the two of them, and Bathsheba joins Gabriel as he is training his new sheepdog how to herd sheep. Their flirtation, going both ways, leads Gabriel to propose to Bathsheba who promptly rejects the proposal as she wants someone who could actually tame her, and she knows that he never could.

Very shortly thereafter Bathsheba and Gabriel have a reversal of fortune, Gabriel’s new sheepdog does what he does in an absolutely horrific manner and Bathsheba inherits her uncle’s entire estate. This leads Bathsheba on an interesting ride as she is now in charge of a household staff on grounds that cover (if I recall correctly 1000 individual acres next to another estate with 1000 acres) a lot of ground and a fortune all her own. It is here we meet two more suitors of Bathsheba, the mature bachelor next door William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) and Sergeant Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a bad boy of sorts.

You can probably guess where that leads.

But the point of the story, even with the underlying plot of Bathsheba being pursued by more men than Bella Swan, is that Bathsheba is fiercely independent and doesn’t want to give that up. Her story isn’t unlike that of many young women today, and I believe this is a grand and powerful tale that may take a while to build up but is still worth your time.

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