This film is a worthy adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel taking place in the 1870’s. If you are bored with love triangles, this love quadrangle may intrigue your interest.
Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is an orphan, but well-educated. She is spending the summer on her aunt’s farm in Dorset, England. While horseback riding, she meets a neighboring sheep herder, Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts). He is immediately smitten and proposes to her on their second encounter! She values her independence, so she immediately rejects his proposal.
Shortly thereafter, Bathsheba inherits a large farm from her deceased uncle (not her aunt’s husband) and becomes a wealthy landowner. Gabriel, due to unfortunate circumstances, winds up as her employee. His station is so far below her now that he is no longer a potential husband, even if Bathsheba had a change of heart.
The neighboring farm is owned by the very wealthy William Boldwood (Michael Sheen). He wants to marry her and can offer her even greater wealth, advice on how to run her farm, and security. She likes and respects him, but she does not feel any passion for him, so she tells him she needs time to consider his offer.
Bathsheba then meets the very handsome Sergeant Troy (Tom Sturrudge) and soon gets tossed around by passion’s undertow. His character, however, is suspect.
Will Bathsheba wind up living happily ever after with the right man for her? (You will have to see the film or read the book, since even wild horses galloping over the English countryside won’t drag this ending out of me!)
The Director (Thomas Vinterberg) gets fine performances from all the leads, and the cinematography of the English countryside is beautiful. The pace is leisurely, but it doesn’t drag. If you are in the mood for a well-done, period-piece romance, this is a good one to see.