In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor.
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It's really interesting to see Vinterberg tackle this genre, augmenting his probing handheld camerawork with stunning, painterly compositions. He's especially attuned to the colors and textures the period pastoral setting allows him, catching broad swaths of light across a spectrum of luminous colors. And Mulligan radiates such a magnetic presence that it's hard to resist.
Ahn... I thought I'd like it way more. It's a long movie but it passes by very quickly because everything seems rushed. You don't get the time to really connect to anything. I was hoping her choice would be harder than it was. In the end, she didn't really have to choose anyone. Michael Sheen is brilliant as always.
A pedestrian period-piece that sticks so closely to genre and convention as to leave nothing unexpected. The lensing is unremarkable, the performances do the job but the story is so condensed that it's turns run into TV melodrama territory. 2.5 stars
Who doesn't love love love strong, independent women who are a tad vulnerable? I know I do. And who doesn't love Carey Mulligan's face? That is one wildly busy, fascinating face. What would Gilles Deleuze make of Carey Mulligan faciality? And farming. Farming is sexy.
At one point the very nice Mr. Boldwood (perfect Michael Sheen) asks Bathsheba (perfect Carey Mulligan) to decide how she feels about him: if she likes or respects him. Bathsheba tells him these are terms men have created and that her choice is difficult. Thomas Vinterberg celebrates the independent spirit of one woman in a spectacular adaptation of a classic novel exquisitely lensed by Charlotte Bruus Christensen.
Vinterberg's succinct take on the Thomas Hardy novel gets to the heart of the novel and provides a modern more feministic take on the tome which provides reward for the viewer. Mulligan's Bathsheeba is a fully realized creation revelling in it's duality of independence and sexual want. She captures this in her first silent scene on horseback while Julie Christie couldn't do so (in the '67 film) in a 3 hour runtime.
If all you want is a period piece/love movie, this will do just fine, however I expect edgier stuff from the director of The Celebration. Perhaps it's just another case of an auteur selling out for commercial success.