If I’m mad at this movie, which I sort of am, it’s mostly because I am permanently mad at Bathsheba Everdene, and only slightly because of a joint incompetence on the part of the editing and continuity people, who either never bothered to tell us time had passed or paid no attention to time of day and what people were wearing.

Anyway, as Thomas Hardy adaptations go, it’s adequate shading to good. Scenery lush, costuming slightly mannered but handsome, casting decent, writing heavy-handed and slightly more feminist than the source material. Is “feminist” the right word? Is maybe “less deeply misogynist” the phrase I seek?

Carey Mulligan smirks constantly, which I hate, and Bathsheba never struck me as a smirker, but it’s not wrong. Matthias Schoenaerts is handsome, solid, and a total fucking nitwit, but that’s Gabriel Oak for you. Michael Sheen as Boldwood is convincingly unbalanced; Tom Sturridge is…not the man I would have cast as Francis Troy, but, again, effete isn’t an incorrect direction to go. Juno Temple’s Fanny Robin is not as heart-breaking as she ought to be.

Stray notes:

  • Seriously, Gabriel Oak: fiction’s greatest nitwit.
  • I was idly mapping Hunger Games people onto this, prompted by the Everdene/Everdeen thing, and if Suzanne Collins meant that… Finnick is Troy, Gale is Boldwood? Because Peeta sure as shootin’ is Gabriel, and I just managed to make myself hate both Bathsheba and Katniss even more than I already did, which is impressive.

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Rating: PG-13
Length: 119 min.
Score: 3/5.

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