Far from the Madding Crowd


Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

Written by: David Nicholls (screenplay), Thomas Hardy (novel)

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple, Jessica Barden

Vinterberg’s adaptation easily ticks the required boxes of a successful period drama. The sets are ready to be stepped onto, and there’s artistry and homeliness to the costuming.

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Moreover, Vinterberg and Nicholls are sensitive to their source material; the film is as earthy as Hardy should be, with an unabridged focus on farming and well-paced dovetailing tragedies after an unhurried opening.

Fruitful casting and attentive cinematography elevates Madding Crowd beyond familiarity. Sheen gives a surprisingly textured performance as the staid Boldwood, leaving his Twilight association in the dust, while Mulligan creates a determined Bathsheba regretful of her own girlish fallibility.

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Conventionality is almost surpassed by fine performances and some technical flair, yet the emphatically romance-driven conclusion is all the more disappointing alongside such winning translation of Hardy’s rural verisimilitude.

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