I've never read any Thomas Hardy, so I know little about Bathsheba Everdene and " Far From The Madding Crowd" I think I saw the 1967 film version once, the one with the beautiful Terrence Stamp in, but I can't remember it very much save for the fact everyone in it looked very 1960s rather than 1870s
Today, I went to see an 11.40 am ( YES AM SHOWING!!!!!!how daring is that in North Wales) of the recent remake and I can honestly say it was one of the best films I have seen this year. Staring the perky and very likable Carey Mulligan as the independent Bathsheba, the film is an absolutely beautiful looking journey into rural Dorset life of 150 years ago, where rosy faced ,bonnet wearing villagers toil away in the fields of wheat and flocks of sheep plummet from the coastal cliff fields onto the beach chased by stupid sheepdogs
Schoenaerts can look after my sheep anyday
Mulligan's Bathsheba is overly Earnest and pragmatic and so when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome soldier ( Tom Sturridge) it takes the audience a little by surprise when she says she had never been kissed in her life. A necessary piece of information required for a modern day audience to understand the whirlwind nature of the romance given the fact that the rugged and softly spoken Shepherd Gabriel Oak ( Matthais Schoenaerts) and the quietly despairing bachelor Mr Boldwood ( Michael Sheen) are standing in the wings wanting marriage and a settled down life.
Mulligan is cracking in the lead role but for me it is Schoenaerts who carries the entire film with a quietly assertive and understated performance that makes it's mark in every scene he appears in.
Sheen too is very impressive as the vulnerable and mentally more fragile Boldwood, so much so is that, I am sure he'll get a best supporting actor nod by the Academy Award board.
If you like a proper old fashioned romance...then go and see Madding Crowd...you won't be disappointed