Far from the Madding Crowd (2015 film)
|Far from the Madding Crowd|
Official British poster
|Directed by||Thomas Vinterberg|
|Written by||David Nicholls|
Far from the Madding Crowd|
by Thomas Hardy
|Music by||Craig Armstrong|
|Cinematography||Charlotte Bruus Christensen|
|Edited by||Claire Simpson|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Box office||$30.2 million|
Far from the Madding Crowd is a 2015 British-American romantic drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Juno Temple. It is an adaptation of the 1874 novel of the same name by Thomas Hardy, the fourth time this novel has been filmed.
In 1870 Victorian Britain, Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is working on her aunt's farm in Dorset. Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a new neighbour, sees Bathsheba riding her horse and falls in love with her. He proposes, but the headstrong Bathsheba declines, saying she is too independent and he would grow to despise her. One night a new sheepdog chases Gabriel's entire flock off a cliff. He settles his debts and is left penniless. He leaves in search of work. In contrast, Bathsheba inherits a farm from her uncle and leaves to take charge of it.
While Gabriel is at a fair trying to find employment, local soldiers attempt to recruit him and other townsmen. A young girl, Fanny Robin, notices him and points out one of the soldiers, Sergeant Frank Troy, her sweetheart. She suggests Gabriel seek employment at a farm in Weatherbury. Gabriel arrives to find several buildings on fire and saves the barn from destruction. At dawn the next day he is introduced to the farm's new mistress: Bathsheba. She hires him as a shepherd. In the meantime, Fanny goes to the wrong church for her wedding and Troy, apparently jilted, is devastated.
In town, Bathsheba proves to be a shrewd trader when selling her seed. She immediately is drawn to her neighbor William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. Bathsheba sends Boldwood a Valentine as a joke, and he, both offended and intrigued, soon proposes marriage. Bathsheba says she does share his feelings but delays giving him a final answer. Gabriel admonishes Bathsheba for being foolish and unkind by playing with Boldwood's affections. She is stung by his criticism, and fires him, but the next day, given a crisis with the sheep that only he can manage, she sends after him and then pursues him to ask him to return. After her personal appeal, he comes back, saves some of the sheep, and stays on the farm.
One night while walking around her land, Bathsheba meets Troy, who is mesmerized by her beauty. Uncomfortable, she tells him he should not be there, but the next day he returns to help with the harvest. Bathsheba learns he is of a noble family, but tells him to leave. He flirts with her and flatters her, and arranges a secret meeting with him. At their rendezvous in the woods, he shows off his swordplay, telling her not to flinch as he swings his sword around her head and body. He finally embraces her in a passionate kiss and Bathsheba is left in a daze. Gabriel warns her that Frank is dangerous and dishonourable, but she nevertheless elopes with him, and they share their wedding night together.
Returning to the farm, the newly married couple celebrate with all the workers. Gabriel warns of an approaching storm, but the belligerent and drunk Frank interrupts him and insists that the party will not allow it to rain. Gabriel attempts to cover the harvest with tarps by himself and Bathsheba, ashamed of Frank's drunken behavior with the other men, comes out into the wind and rain to help. Chastened, she tells Gabriel that she was a fool to fall prey to Frank's flattery.
One day in town, Frank sees Fanny begging. She tells him she had gone to the wrong church, and that she is pregnant with his baby. He promises her he will find a home for them, and that she should stay in the workhouse in the meantime. Frank, a degenerate gambler, asks Bathsheba for £20 and she refuses, saying the money is for farm expenses.
Fanny and her baby die in childbirth. Their coffin is delivered to Bathsheba's farm, which was her last known address. Bathsheba recognizes the name as one of her uncle's loyal servants and says the coffin should be brought inside for mourning. The words "Fanny Robin and child" are written on the coffin, but Gabriel surreptitiously erases "and child" from the slate while bringing it in. Bathsheba reads the erasure, opens the coffin, and discovers the mother and baby within. Frank, upon seeing Fanny and his dead baby, bends over the coffin and kisses Fanny's lips. Bathsheba protests that she is still his wife, but he coldly responds that even in death Fanny means more to him than Bathsheba ever had meant or ever could mean. In grief Frank goes to the beach, where he strips off his uniform and swims far into the ocean. The next day the constable arrives to inform Bathsheba that Frank has apparently drowned.
Left with Frank's debts, Bathsheba worries she may lose the farm. Boldwood offers to buy it and merge it with his property, offering Gabriel a position as bailiff, and again proposes marriage. Bathsheba agrees to consider his offer. On the eve of the Christmas party he plans to throw, Boldwood shares with Gabriel that he knows of the affection he feels for Bathsheba, but adds he appreciates that he has been such a gentleman in the entire matter, and shows Gabriel the engagement ring he plans to present her with.
At the party, Boldwood graciously invites Gabriel and Bathsheba to dance. She breaks off the dance and leaves, only to discover Frank outside. He was rescued from drowning but has faked his death for some weeks, but now he has decided to return and demands money from Bathsheba, saying it is not fair that he gave up his profession as a soldier for her and that she has money and a house. She insists she has no money, to which he demands she sell the farm and come home with him. When she refuses, he grabs her roughly and screams that she is still his wife. Enraged, Boldwood emerges from the house and kills Frank with a blast from his rifle, for which he is promptly imprisoned, though his life will be spared because he acted in passion.
Gabriel announces he is emigrating to America. As he leaves on foot early in the morning, Bathsheba stays at the farm battling her feelings. Finally, she chases after him on horseback and begs him to come back, telling him that she needs him. Gabriel asks her if she would agree were he to propose again. Bathsheba smiles and tells him to ask once more. Gabriel kisses her passionately in response, and they walk back hand in hand.
- Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene
- Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak
- Michael Sheen as William Boldwood
- Tom Sturridge as Sergeant Frank Troy
- Juno Temple as Fanny Robin
- Jessica Barden as Liddy
- Sam Phillips as Sergeant Doggett
- Tilly Vosburgh as Mrs. Hurst
- Rowan Hedley as Maryann Money
- Chris Gallarus as Billy Smallbury
- Connor Webb as Merchant
- Penny-Jane Swift as Mrs. Coggan
- Rosie Masson as Soberness Miller
- Alex Channon as Temperance Miller
- Shaun Ward as Farmer
- Roderick Swift as Everdene farmer
- Don J. Whistance as Constable
- Jamie Lee-Hill as Laban Tall
David Nicholls became attached to the film in 2008. In April 2013, it was reported that Matthias Schoenaerts had been offered the role of Gabriel Oak alongside Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene. Their casting was official in May 2013 with the participation of director Thomas Vinterberg.
Thomas Vinterberg invented the scene in which Sergeant Troy clutches Bathsheba's crotch after the sword tricks because he wanted it to get more drastically sexual. The British crew called it 'the Danish handshake'. Vinterberg suggested that he would have gone much further if it had been a Danish film.
The first teaser trailer debuted on 23 November 2014. It features the song "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" performed by Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen. A teaser poster was also revealed to mark the 140th anniversary of the novel of the same name.
Far from the Madding Crowd received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 86%, based on 166 reviews, with the site's critical consensus reading, "Far from the Madding Crowd invites tough comparisons to Thomas Hardy's classic novel – and its previous adaptation – but stands on its own thanks to strong direction and a talented cast." Metacritic gave the film a score of 71 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Carey Mulligan's performance was critically praised and some considered it better than the 1967 adaptation starring Julie Christie. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, in his three out of four star review, said "Vinterberg may rush the final act, but he brings out the wild side in Mulligan, who can hold a close-up like nobody's business. She's a live wire in a movie that knows how to stir up a classic for the here and now."
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