Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Movie Review ~ Far from the Madding Crowd


Far from the Madding CrowdFar from the Madding Crowd, rated PG-13


Based on a novel by Thomas Hardy and directed by Thomas Vinterberg, this film is set in 1870 about 200 miles from London. Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a sheep farmer. He quickly proposes to the young and independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan, who earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for 2009’s An Education). The role of Bathsheba was played by Julie Christie in John Schlesinger’s 1967 adaptation of the novel). Bathsheba is spending the summer with her aunt at the adjacent farm, and she quickly turns him down. Soon their fortunes change and Gabriel finds himself working for Bathsheba, who has now inherited a large once prosperous farm from her beloved uncle.

Gabriel still cares for Bathsheba, but in their new circumstances he knows there is no possibility for him. The wealthy William Boldwood (Michael Sheen, who played Tony Blair in The Queen), proposes to Bathsheba, but after telling him that she would consider it, turns him down as well, indicating that she doesn’t need a husband.

Into her life then comes the handsome Sgt. Francis ‘Frank’ Troy (Tom Sturridge), who was left at the altar by the love of his life (Juno Temple as Fanny Robbin, who used to work on Bathsheba’s farm), because Fanny went to the wrong church. He gives Bathsheba her first kiss. Bathsheba tries to manage the large farm while having three suitors. Liddy (Jessica Barden) is Bathsheba’s faithful assistant.

The movie is beautifully filmed in the English countryside by cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen. The acting performances are strong, particularly Mulligan. A few scenes are filmed in the local church, but we don’t necessarily see any faith in the lives of the main characters impacting their daily lives.   This movie does show how important character, integrity and faithfulness are when choosing a husband – far more than riches or good looks.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review ~ Far from the Madding Crowd

  1. My grandmum appeared as an extra in the 1967 adaptation of this Hardy classic, so I could easily have been biased. However, this film was a pleasure to watch and managed to convey a lot of drama and atmosphere without unnecessary dialogue. I love the Dorset countryside and it was only right and proper that the film was filmed on location in Hardy’s county where it belongs. My only complaint, which I will try to make without giving anything away, is that the way the character Frank was portrayed was a bit too odd.

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