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This film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s famous love story generally impresses – by not being your regular stereotypical romance.

But that’s also its biggest downfall, leaving this remake of the highly-acclaimed 1967 film failing to linger in the memory for too long afterwards – leaving it short of the iconic status the original gets tagged with.

British actress Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby) – as the unfortunately-named lead character Bathsheba Everdene – does everything in her power to make it work, with a truly strong and compelling performance that lights up the screen, ably assisted by fellow rising star Matthias Schoenaerts (Suite Francaise).

As an independently headstrong young woman – who has just inherited a farm from her uncle in Victorian England-era Dorset in 1870 – the story chronicles her trials and tribulations as she attracts three different suitors to take her hand in marriage.

Captivating shepherd Gabriel Oak (Schoenaerts) offers friendship, reckless Sergeant Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge) offers excitement, and prosperous middle-aged bachelor William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) offers safety, as they all have their heads turned by Everdene’s grace and beauty – and all suffer emotional heartache doing so.

But despite some noteworthy performances by all involved, there’s ultimately an underlying feeling that this beautifully landscaped and costumed drama could have been something more – as it never truly sparks into life.


That said, Mulligan’s role-reversal as a dominant female character, always makes this watchable throughout – as she continues her rise into one of Hollywood’s leading young stars.

She clasps the portrayal of Hardy’s heroine with a faithful and passionate determination that sucks you into this almost fantasy-like Victorian world, and that – coupled with the breathtaking rural setting and Schoenaerts amiable ‘nice guy’ support – makes this ‘curveball’ romance well worth mingling with the cinema crowd for.

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Cast: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Michael Sheen, Juno Temple & Jessica Barden

Running Time: 1 Hr 59 Mins

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Gavin Miller


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