“I have a piano, and I have my own farm and I have no need for a husband.”
Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene
I haven’t read Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, but now I really want to. The recent film starring Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene isn’t the first adaptation of the book, but it is making headlines as a mixing pot of talented actors and supreme storytelling.
I saw this film at BAFTA as part of Panache lingerie’s My Role Model launch and the connected was fairly obvious – strong real women fronting a campaign, strong woman in the film. The screenplay was written by David Nicholls and the film was introduced by Christine Langan, Head of Film at the BBC and her insights are worthy of note. The hardest part about an enthralling, complex and well-loved novel like this one, she noted, was what to leave in and what to take out. Which famous scenes to cut, how to weave big story lines into a compelling film of an hour and a half.
The film is a triumph. Carey Mulligan is an intelligent actress and it shines through her as she delivers this performance with the passion and integrity it deserves. Bathsheba’s the kind of girl who is brave, daring, ambitious and totally fallible as she gets caught up in a love…square? There are three men who are in love with Carey’s character. The well-cast, rugged and handsome farmer Gabriel Oak played by Matthias Schoenarts. The posh Michael Sheen as William Boldwood who is awkward but loveable and is STILL basically Tony Blair to anyone who saw The Deal. Finally the rogue Frank Troy a sergeant played by Tom Sturridge who is charming and confident with his wit and his looks to try to sweep Bathsheba off her feet.
Suffice to say the course of true love does not run smoothly. The backdrop of the English countryside is, as ever, breath-taking. There’s an authenticity to this film with the clothes creating an image which perfectly matches each character. From Bathsheba’s dresses which are pretty but not ostentatious as she prepares to roll her sleeves up and help the workers, to Frank’s sharp red uniform signifying status and rank to Gabriel’s solid farmer get-up that shows off his physique and William’s who’s tight button-up jacket and high frilly neckline display money, wealth and security.
This is one hell of a ride and there’s a lot to think about when you consider women in society. For this is a woman determined to live her life with confidence and the choices she makes (good and bad) are hers alone. Enjoy every single minute of it.