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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Awards Watch: Snapshot Review of FROM FROM THE MADDING CROWD

Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts in Far From the Madding Crowd

I really don't set out to be a contrarian. I want to love all the "Oscar-worthy" films people have been buzzing about for the last few weeks. But the truth is, I can't. And I won't. FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is...decent, if you're into the whole British woman in romantic turmoil costume drama. I found that genre far more interesting with Belle, but here not so much.

Carey Mulligan, an actress who I am beginning to think is more intriguing than the roles she's given, stars here as Bathsheba Everdene, a British feminist before the word was even defined, who turned down not one, not two, but three suitors to focus on her work instead--and became somewhat of a hero in the process. Her story, adapted from Thomas Hardy's novel of the same name, doesn't really carry as much heft as, say, Hilary Swank's role in The Homesman, because it primarily explores her feminism through her disengagement with men--which isn't a compelling storyline. The film needed more about her vision as a working woman, but that kept getting interrupted by the men in and our of her life. I understand that her decision to find her independence, and freely sing songs that include lyrics like "...let no man steal your time..." is considered groundbreaking and defiant for its time, but the way her narrative has been told here is just so blah. It's not as impactful as it should have been. In fact, it's just plain lazy at times.

But I will say that the cinematography is lovely. The rest is just extremely forgettable.

Rating: C (** out of *****)

Watch the trailer:


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