Thomas Vinterberg’s (Festen, The Hunt) eagerly anticipated adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s revered novel emerges as a characteristically daring and effectively stately example of classical period filmmaking. Carey Mulligan is magnificent in the role of Bathsheba Everdene, Hardy’s fiercely independent heroine, who resiliently attempts to establish the Dorset farm that she has inherited from her uncle.
Though she insists she does not want to be possessed by any man, she attracts three very different suitors: the proud shepherd Gabriel Oak (a brooding Matthias Schoenaerts); the prosperous landowner William Boldwood (a sympathetic Michael Sheen); and the preening Army Sergeant Frank Troy (a forceful Tom Sturridge). All their fates are defined by Bathsheba’s passions and choices. This great cast are aided by an affecting script from veteran screenwriter David Nicholls, eye-catching costumes and the beautifully brutal Dorset locations. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)
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