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Recommended age 12-18
119 minutes
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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD cover image Click to play video trailer
I had not read the book nor heard of the film Far From the Madding Crowd when I saw it. So, this review is from the point of view from someone with no prior background knowledge of the source material. Please keep that in mind, fans of the book.

When I saw that BBC had a hand in producing this picture I immediately knew a few things, 1) it would have a down tempo pace, 2) The acting would be good and 3) that the cinematography would be good. I was right about all three. Nevertheless, I had no expectations for the script which was inconsistent.

There are times when the dialogue flows well. The conversations fit the tone and nothing is over-the-top dramatic. And then, there are times when I rolled my eyes at the clich´┐Ż lines. It's that type of romance movie. It became apparent to me though, that the dialogue is specified to show character and relationships rather than good conversation. The dialogue succeeds in moving along the plot and expanding on the characters' situations rather than creating conversational scenes. I can understand that, especially considering the genre of the movie. Yet, it still proved a bit problematic.

This film stars Carey Mulligan as an independent, head-strong protagonist and, what a wonderful job she does. She takes what could have been a very one-note character and makes her complex. Bathsheba (the protagonist) could have easily been portrayed as stubborn and inconsistent, but is instead portrayed as someone fighting for her equal rights as a woman and as a woman dealing with emotions for the first time. And, just her luck, she gets three men to fall in love with her. How about that for first relationship dealings?

The supporting cast does a fine job with a few hiccups. The standout among them is Michael Sheen who takes his supporting part and almost steals the show from the leading lady. Matthias Schoenaerts provides a steady consistency as the moral compass of the film and plays the untainted, instantly likable love interest well.

As for the aesthetics of the film, I was not disappointed. There are scenes of beautiful landscapes and breathtaking shots that aren't necessarily needed, but are surely wanted for the eye-candy effect. They provide good transitions and help keep the pace of the movie in tact.

Because of the acting, cinematography and overall investing quality this film has over an audience, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. I'll end on this note: I spoke to a couple of people at the theater after the film who had read the book. I asked them how accurate the film is and if it does the book justice. They both confidently said, "yes." So, if you're a fan of the book and were iffy about seeing the movie, I hope that testimonial might influence your decision to see this movie. This is in theaters now so, enjoy.

Reveiwed by Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

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The story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba's choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love - as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.
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