Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)
Thomas Hardy novels are an acquired taste that most people never acquire. His books were considered by many critics to be scandalous when they were published, but they seem pretty tame to a modern audience raised on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The new movie adaptation of one of his most famous novels, Far From the Madding Crowd, does justice to the original 1874 work while delivering a lovely drama for a 2015 audience.
The plot is deceptively simple: a beautiful and headstrong young woman, Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), has to choose among three very different suitors. Farmer Boldwood (Michael Sheen) is older, kind and prosperous; Sergeant Troy (some actor I’ve never heard of) is a dashing bad-boy soldier; and Gabriel Oak (some other actor I’ve never heard of) is the boy next door. There are enough plot twists to satisfy any Downton Abbey fan, and I found myself rooting for each suitor at different points in the story. The resolution to Bathsheba’s troubles doesn’t come about until the absolute last minute of the movie, so make sure you have plenty of popcorn and tissues on hand.