Thomas Vinterberg tackles the classic novel, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD by Thomas Hardy, in his latest film. Hardy's novel introduces a powerful female lead who was not defined by her male suitors, but more by her wits, intelligence and business acumen. Does Vinterberg's movie a quality adaptation of Hardy's novel? Click through for my review.
From Wikipedia (I know not always the most RELIABLE, but go with it):
According to the Hebrew Bible, Bathsheba (// or //; Hebrew: בַּת שֶׁ֫בַע, Baṯ-šeḇa‘, "daughter of the oath"; Arabic: بثشبع, "ابنة القسم") was the wife of Uriah the Hittite and later of David, king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. She is most known for the Bible story in which she and King David committed adultery.
Bathsheba was a daughter of Eliam, one of David's "thirty" (2 Sam. 23:34; cf 1 Chr. 3:5); Eliam was the son of Ahitophel, one of David's chief advisors. Ahitophel was from Giloh (Josh. 15:51;cf 2 Sam. 15:12), a city of Judah, and thus Bathsheba was from David's own tribe and the granddaughter of one of David's closest advisors (2 Sam.15:12)." She was the mother of Solomon, who succeeded David as king, making her the Queen Mother.
So the first real test of Vinterberg's novel is does he capture the strong willed woman that is Bathsheba Everdene? You need an actress that is bold, brilliant and beautiful. Carey Mulligan houses all of those qualities and much more. Meet the film's Bathsheba –
"Excited, Wild and Honest as the Day", indeed. The best quality of the film is the incredible performance by Carey Mulligan. Vinterberg truly allows Carey to shine brightest in the film. To grasp the power that is held in this tremendous female heroine is not an easy task and yet Carey lives it in this film. One of the best scenes showcases how she battles the struggles of being in a "man's world".
The other important quality needed to bring the book to life is the importance of Bathsheba's suitors. The casting of Matthais Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge embody Gabriel Oak, William Boldwood and Frank Troy aka the Farmer, the Nobleman, and the Solider.
The music, the cinematography and the overall pacing of the film seem spot on. There are elements of the book not fully fleshed out, but they also don't seem needed in this adaptation. Vinterberg has made one of the year's best films by showcasing his tremendous cast and also by highlighting the real fun truths and lessons gained from Hardy's novel. It's a film that really will stick with you if you allow Bathsheba to take hold of your time.
Take the time to see one of the year's better films and one of the better book adaptations, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD. More info on the film found, here.