Far from the Madding Crowd (2015 film)
|Far from the Madding Crowd|
Official British poster
|Directed by||Thomas Vinterberg|
|Screenplay by||David Nicholls|
|Based on||Far from the Madding Crowd|
by Thomas Hardy
|Music by||Craig Armstrong|
|Cinematography||Charlotte Bruus Christensen|
|Edited by||Claire Simpson|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Box office||$30.2 million|
Far from the Madding Crowd is a 2015 British romantic drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Juno Temple. It is an adaptation of the 1874 novel Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. It is the fourth film adaptation of the novel.
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In 1870 Victorian England, Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is working on her aunt's farm in Dorset. Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a new neighbour, sees Bathsheba riding her horse and falls in love with her. He proposes, but the headstrong Bathsheba declines, saying she is too independent. One night a new sheepdog chases Gabriel's entire flock off a cliff. He settles his debts and is left penniless. He leaves in search of work. In contrast, Bathsheba inherits a farm from her uncle and leaves to take charge of it.
While Gabriel is at a fair trying to find employment, local soldiers attempt to recruit him and other townsmen. A young girl, Fanny Robin, notices him and points out one of the soldiers, Sergeant Frank Troy, her sweetheart. She suggests Gabriel seek employment at a farm in Weatherbury. Gabriel arrives to find several buildings on fire and saves the barn from destruction. At dawn the next day he is introduced to the farm's new mistress: Bathsheba. She hires him as a shepherd. In the meantime, Fanny goes to the wrong church for her wedding and Troy, apparently jilted, is devastated.
In town, Bathsheba proves to be a shrewd trader when selling her seed. She immediately is drawn to her neighbour William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. Bathsheba sends Boldwood a Valentine as a joke, and he, both offended and intrigued, soon proposes marriage. Bathsheba says she does share his feelings but delays giving him a final answer. Gabriel admonishes Bathsheba for being foolish and unkind by playing with Boldwood's affections. She is stung by his criticism, and fires him, but the next day, given a crisis with the sheep that only he can manage, she sends after him and then pursues him to ask him to return. After her personal appeal, he comes back, saves some of the sheep, and stays on the farm.
One night while walking around her land, Bathsheba meets Frank Troy, who is mesmerized by her beauty. Uncomfortable, she tells him he should not be there, but the next day he returns to help with the harvest. Bathsheba learns he is of a noble family, but tells him to leave. He flirts with her and flatters her, and arranges a secret meeting. At their rendezvous in the woods, he shows off his swordplay, telling her not to flinch as he swings his sword around her head and body. He finally embraces her in a passionate kiss and Bathsheba is left in a daze. Gabriel warns her that Frank is dangerous and dishonourable, but she nevertheless elopes with him, and they share their wedding night together.
Returning to the farm, the newly married couple celebrate with all the workers. Gabriel warns of an approaching storm, but the belligerent and drunk Frank interrupts him and insists that the party will not allow it to rain. Gabriel attempts by himself to cover the harvest with tarpaulins and Bathsheba, ashamed of Frank's drunken behavior with the other men, comes out into the wind and rain to help. Chastened, she tells Gabriel that she was a fool to fall prey to Frank's flattery.
One day in town, Frank sees Fanny begging. She tells him she had gone to the wrong church, and that she is pregnant. He promises he will find a home for them, but sends her to the workhouse in the meantime. Frank, a degenerate gambler, asks Bathsheba for £20 and she refuses, saying the money is for farm expenses. Fanny and her baby die in childbirth; their coffin is delivered to Bathsheba's farm her last known address. The words "Fanny Robin and child" are on the coffin, but Gabriel surreptitiously erases "and child" from the slate while bringing it in. Bathsheba recognizes her name as one of her uncle's loyal servants. Bathsheba also reads the erasure, opens the coffin, and discovers the mother and baby within. Frank, comes home, and upon seeing Fanny and his dead baby, bends over the coffin and kisses Fanny's lips. Bathsheba protests that she is still his wife, but he coldly responds that even in death Fanny means more to him than Bathsheba ever could mean. In grief Frank goes to the beach, where he strips off his uniform and swims far into the ocean. The next day Bathsheba learns Frank has apparently drowned.
Left with Frank's gambling debts, Bathsheba worries she may lose the farm. Boldwood offers to buy it and merge it with his property, offering Gabriel a position as bailiff, and again proposes marriage. Bathsheba agrees to consider his offer. On the eve of the Christmas party he plans to throw, Boldwood shares with Gabriel that he knows of the affection he feels for Bathsheba, but adds he appreciates that he has been such a gentleman in the entire matter, and shows Gabriel the engagement ring he plans to offer her.
At the party, Boldwood graciously invites Gabriel and Bathsheba to share at least one dance. As they dance, she again asks Gabriel what she should do, and he answers simply to "Do what is right". She breaks off the dance and leaves, only to discover Frank, outside, alive and well. He was rescued from drowning but has faked his death for some weeks, preferring the idea of being 'dead.' He demands money from Bathsheba, claiming it was unfair that he gave up his profession and now lives off nothing while she has money and a house. Frank grabs her roughly, screaming that she is still his wife and must obey him. Enraged, Boldwood emerges from the house and kills Frank with a single blast from his rifle, for which he is promptly imprisoned. Gabriel reassures Bathsheba her that if it's any consolation Boldwood is bound to be spared his life, for acting in a 'crime of passion'.
Some time later, Gabriel announces that since the farm is now secure, he'll be emigrating to America in four days time. As he leaves on foot early in the morning, Bathsheba chases after him on horseback and begs him not to leave, thanking him for all he's done for her, and always believing in her. Gabriel tells her, if only she would accept his love, then asks her if she would agree were he to propose again. Bathsheba smiles and tells him he needs ask but once more. Gabriel kisses her passionately in response, and they walk back hand in hand.
- Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene
- Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak
- Michael Sheen as William Boldwood
- Tom Sturridge as Sergeant Frank Troy
- Juno Temple as Fanny Robin
- Jessica Barden as Liddy
- Sam Phillips as Sergeant Doggett
- Tilly Vosburgh as Mrs. Hurst
- Rowan Hedley as Maryann Money
- Chris Gallarus as Billy Smallbury
- Connor Webb as Merchant
- Penny-Jane Swift as Mrs. Coggan
- Rosie Masson as Soberness Miller
- Alex Channon as Temperance Miller
- Shaun Ward as Farmer
- Roderick Swift as Everdene farmer
- Don J. Whistance as Constable
- Jamie Lee-Hill as Laban Tall
David Nicholls became attached to the film in 2008. In April 2013, it was reported that Matthias Schoenaerts had been offered the role of Gabriel Oak alongside Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene. Their casting was official in May 2013 with the participation of director Thomas Vinterberg.
Thomas Vinterberg invented the scene in which Sergeant Troy clutches Bathsheba's crotch after the sword tricks because he wanted it to get more drastically sexual. The British crew called it 'the Danish handshake'. Vinterberg suggested that he would have gone much further if it had been a Danish film.
The first teaser trailer debuted on 23 November 2014. It features the song "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" performed by Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen. A teaser poster was also revealed to mark the 140th anniversary of the novel of the same name.
Far from the Madding Crowd grossed $12.2 million in North America and $17.9 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $30.2 million.
Far from the Madding Crowd received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 85%, based on 176 reviews, with the site's critical consensus reading, "Far from the Madding Crowd invites tough comparisons to Thomas Hardy's classic novel – and its previous adaptation – but stands on its own thanks to strong direction and a talented cast." Metacritic gave the film a score of 71 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Carey Mulligan's performance was critically praised and some considered it better than the 1967 adaptation starring Julie Christie. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, in his three out of four star review, said "Vinterberg may rush the final act, but he brings out the wild side in Mulligan, who can hold a close-up like nobody's business. She's a live wire in a movie that knows how to stir up a classic for the here and now."
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