For Reel

Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)
June 10, 2015, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
4 Stars
Far From the Madding CrowdThe latest Victorian novel to be readapted with the handsome, picturesque aesthetic that Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice popularized for the genre is Far From the Madding Crowd, an irresistible feminist drama about a woman and the three men who desire her. Although likeminded projects have come under scrutiny for simplifying a novel’s complexities into a rather standard presentation of corsets and lust, this adaptation feels a bit more sincere. Carey Mulligan is well cast as Bathsheba Everdene. She’s a woman who is hesitant to accept the codependency that a relationship would inspire, as if making oneself vulnerable is a betrayal of one’s will. If the film doesn’t necessarily provide a satisfying enough argument against this notion (she spends much of the film needing her eventual lover’s help), it nicely sets up the stakes of her ultimate decision. Matthias Schoenaerts gives a terrific performance as the shepherd. His range might be questionable, but if only for his physicality he is perfectly cast as the loyal, sturdy Gabriel Oak. He’s quiet and brooding, effectively playing the slight ticks and discomforts that Michael Sheen, as the oldest of the bachelors, exaggerates.

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