Far From The Madding Crowd
The Victorian novel Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy has been adapted into silverscreen starring Carrey Mulligan in the lead as a young beauty, whose ardent wish is to see feminist causes reach a conclusion. As Bathsheba Everdene, Mulligan is modest in the rural English landscape. She is kind, fragile, resolute and strong. Bathsheba inherits her uncle’s farm, and this puts her at a wealthy disposition, which for the 1800s was a rare sight to behold.
Numerous eager suitors arrive at her door because of her newly acquired affluence, from a hardworking shepherd who is at once besotted by the young lady, even before she grew rich, to a misbehaving army boy, that has quite the irresistible tag amongst young ladies because of his virulent opposition to living a comfortable rural life, abiding societal norms. This debonair attitude of his is hard to ignore in the novel, outlining him as the sole antagonist but there needs to be some shades of concealment, which this particular casting has made it difficult.
Bathsheba is won over by his fast swordmanship, but before the infatuation is even gone, Bathsheba realises that she has married a monster: the Sargeant has no interest in farming and is besotted by her former servant. It is so hard to conceal the element of surprise that greets Bathsheba, during her episodes with Sergeant – her shock at discovering the true nature of Sargeant needs to be felt, and it needs to be felt strongly. So the right thing here would be to be less literal and more abstract, at times. The sexual politics, meanwhile, continues in the film, right until Bathsheba realises that she is meant to be with Gabriel Oak, the farmer she uncomfortably once hired to look after the farm, that she becomes friends with during her “hard times” and the one who fell in love with her upon first sight.