Monday, June 22, 2015
Brief Look at Far From the Madding CrowdBy Tinsel & Tine Editor, Le Anne Lindsay
Saw this back in April and never had a chance to write a post for it, so hence the title - Movie Catch Up, using the foodie Ketchup :)
This period piece set in Victorian England directed by Thomas Vinterberg and based on the popular novel by Thomas Hardy, stars one of my favorites ever since I saw her in "An Education"- Carey Mulligan. Her suitors are played by Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge.
Most everyone thinks the title is Far From the "Maddening" Crowd, once upon a time, I used to think so too. In researching the title, it's not too far off - the word "madding" means to make wild or insane, derived from the word "madden" to drive to distraction. In the movie all three men are driven to distraction in one way or another by the headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan). In actuality, they say Hardy took the title from a poem -"Elegy in a Country Churchyard" (1751) by Thomas Gray:
And, that poem was inspired by another literary work from 1614, so I guess throughout the ages people just like the sound of "madding crowd".
Brief T&T Synopsis: Bathsheba (pronounced Bath-sha-ba, instead of the biblical pronunciation Basheba) parents died when she was young and she's been raised by relatives, but not the relative who passes away near the beginning of the film/story and leaves her a rather large working farm in his Will. She immediately takes over the running of the farm despite being a single, young female. By coincidence, one of the farmhands already working there, is a past suitor, Gabriel (Schoenaerts). Maybe a year or two before he had asked for Bathsheba's hand in marriage and she turned him down, stating he wouldn't be able to tame her. Gabriel was a wealthy enough farmer back then, but soon after suffered a terrible reversal of fortune, hence why he's now her employee. The neighboring farm which is more like an estate is run by a serious gent, Mr. Boldwood (Sheen) at first he seems to disapprove of Ms. Everdene, but it's not long before he too asks for her hand in marriage, she puts him off, enjoying her independence. Were she to want to marry, either of these men would make for a fine husband; but instead, she falls for a falsely dashing army sergeant, a moment of weakness all involved will regret.
Thoughts: I love period pieces and felt this one has all the anticipated sweep and grandeur for which the BBC has become synonymous. Beautiful landscape shots of the English countryside. The ability to transport you to a time long past. I was taken with the story, in fact, I've seen the movie twice, but it feels to me like a glorified historical romance novel. I suppose I'll have to actually read Hardy's book to understand what makes it such a literary success - both then (1874) and present day.
T &T's LAMB Score: 3.5 outta 5
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