My prediction - one of the best films of the year. And if not, the gods bestowing the awards will have erred. Far from the Madding Crowd is yet another film (based on a novel by Thomas Hardy) where Carrie Mulligan shows the strength of her talent. As Bathsheba Everdene, she plays a strong willed and most independent young lady in a story that starts in 1870 in England. The story is the tale of the intertwined relationships she has with three men.
Over the course of the movie we watch as she matures and starts to question love and independence. She always seems to have control of it all, or does she? Matthias Schoenaerts plays Gabrial Oak, the steady dependable sheep herder (the strong quiet type) who seems to always be there for her. Micheal Sheen plays William Boldwood the middle age prosperous farmer who becomes besotted with her. And Tom Sturridge plays Sergeant Troy, the dashing officer who quickly infatuates Bathsheba and sweeps her off her feet.
The story moves along and never lags. The characters are well developed and well cast. The scenery and costumes are so well done. There is one small "stumble" in the introduction of Sergeant Troy into her life that I found a little random, but then I do not hold that against the film.
The original version of the movie was made in 1967 with Julie Christie, Alan Bates and Terence Stamp. However, I never saw it or heard of it before so I can offer no comparisons.
I fear say more lest I spoil the story. Some critics panned it. A.O. Scott of The New Times was less than enthused but then when is Mr. Scott ever enthused with much, other than himself?
It is 119 minutes I highly recommend.