Far from the Madding Crowd – film review

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I love Thomas Hardy.  I love his novels and my favourite is probably Far from the Madding Crowd, so I was really excited when I heard a new film was being made.

And it was good, mostly, but I was a little disappointed if I’m honest.  There seemed to be major holes in the portrayal of the characters and the plot and I’m not sure you’d really be able to appreciate either fully if you hadn’t read the novel.  I saw the film with my boyfriend, who hasn’t, and he didn’t care about any of the characters and felt that the plot was trite, and typical of a “girly” film.  For me, that shows that something from the novel is missing from the film.  Essentially, the basic elements of the plot seem to have been taken, and put into film format with flattened versions of the original characters.  And one of the most important scenes, critical to the end of the story, has been done so inaccurately, it doesn’t actually make much sense.

I feel like I’m being really negative now, and some parts of the film were done very well.  The shots of the English countryside were beautiful.  Gorgeous greenery, lovely animals, the scenery itself made me want to pack off to a farm and live out the rest of my days randomly jumping into sheep dip and climbing onto haystacks during thunderstorms.  Just like when I read the novel, I fell a little bit in love with Gabriel, felt genuine pity for Farmer Boldwood and hated Sergeant Troy.  Also, one of the most horrifically graphic scenes ever written in Victorian literature was done amazingly well.

So, overall, I think the film is worth seeing, but in some ways it could have been done a lot better.  The novel is definitely worth reading, and the film gives a nice basic overview of what happens.

If you like Far from the Madding Crowd, other nineteenth century novels in which the characters have to wait for love are Sense and Sensibility and The Woman in White.  Film versions of both these novels are also available.

Copyright, D M Day, 2015

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