FILM REVIEW: Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)

Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd is the story of the lovely and independent Bathsheba Everdene.

It has been called the author’s “sunniest and least brooding” novel, and director Thomas Vinterberg’s film adaptation is a beautiful affair that successfully manages to harmonize even the more disturbing elements into a glossy production.

Mulligan is certainly a thoroughly modern Bathsheba to appeal to today’s audiences.

I’ve always found her acting to range between adequate and insipid, but as most critics and viewers seem to adore her, I must be missing something.

Matthias Schoenaerts is great as shepherd Gabriel Oak and Juno Temple is wonderfully touching as the tragic Fanny Robin, abandoned by Bathsheba’s third suitor, the vain Sergeant Troy.

Unfortunately it’s tricky to understand Bathsheba’s passive surrender to Tom Sturridge’s Troy, while Martin Sheen’s Boldwood barely gets a look-in.

Presented as a gorgeous love quadrangle, Sheen’s lack of screen time means that it’s more of a straightforward love triangle, and Boldwood’s actions at the end feel inexplicable and rushed.

A lavish and absorbing, if flawed, costume drama.