Film fails the novel
AN 1800s woman’s independence takes a blow when a cocky soldier grabs her crotch in this woeful period drama based on the 1874 novel by Thomas Hardy.
Grown-up orphan Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), with an “I don’t need a man” policy, inherits her dead uncle’s farm and must get it back in tiptop shape.
Her personal life becomes complicated when she employs a down-onhis-luck former farming neighbour Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) – whose proposal she once refused because she was far too independent for him – and her new neighbour William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) tries repeatedly to woo her.
Even though she has had advancements from respectable, hard-working men, she falls for the guy who cuts her hair with a sword in a hilarious display of masculinity and grabs her crotch in a cringe-worthy scene.
Despite the daytime soap opera treatment (a love quadrangle and one character even comes back from the dead), this is a yawner. This dull, drawn-out, tiresome “will she, won’t she” story manages to turn a strong and interesting female character into an unrelatable mess.
With so little access to her thought process, it becomes unapparent why this fiercely independent woman would pass up the chance to have a relationship with two decent men, but jump at the chance with a jerk after such a grotesque display.
The cast are watchable, but their performances are plagued by what appear to be last-minute changes.