|Mulligan and Schoenaerts shine in this beautiful melodrama.|
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Produced by Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich
Written by David Nicholls (from Thomas Hardy's novel)
Starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Juno Temple
Thomas Vinterberg's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel is a sweeping romance and lush production. Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) is a spirited woman, desiring her independence and following her impetuous nature. Inheriting a farm from her uncle, she attracts the advances of three men of various backgrounds: a humble sheep farmer (Schoenaerts), a reserved gentlemen (Sheen), and a young soldier (Sturridge). The three men each have her attention and consideration at certain moments, but her heart can only belong to one. If Bathsheba is ever to be happy, she'll have to decide which man she wants to be with and give her heart.
This version of Hardy's romance is an improvement stylistically over John Schlesinger's 1967 film, which stared Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Peter Finch, and Terence Stamp. While the new cast aren't quite as formidable, they do give very good performances. Mulligan is lovely as Bathsheba - bubbly, impulsive, independent, loving, and totally her own person. As her wealthy neighbor, Sheen gives a reigned-in performance of a tortured, upstanding man of character. Schoenaerts, meanwhile, is a reserved force, providing the film's most effective performance. Sturridge is arguably miscast, but he makes the most of his latter scenes. As good as the cast are, the film is equally as well-designed. The fine sets, gorgeous costumes, rich score, and stunning cinematography make a captivating experience. It's a wonderful, timeless melodrama, rendered a success from Vinterberg's actors and the ravishing design of the film. No doubt, it's one of the year's best.
Oscar Potential: Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score