I read Far from the Madding Crowd and was excited to watch the recent remake to compare it to what I imagined…… and was ridiculously disappointed!
The movie has a few gaps between scenes as if they expect the viewer to already have read the book. This may make sense since it’s a classic love story but doesn’t mean they should allow plot holes or confusion for thousands of other viewers (we all know most people will opt for a movie before picking up the book).
My first issue with the modern movie is the casting for Gabriel Oak…. he was too hot.
Yes. I said it – too hot. I didn’t imagine him to be some blue-eyed handsome Calvin Klein model of a sheperd– otherwise Bathsheba would perhaps have been more interested in him initially, right? Having him as an attractive hardworking man caused the movie to center around Bathsheba slowly falling for him with intimate or flirty moments while working on the farm.
This isn’t what I imagined – the book led me to believe that she was not interested in him as a suitable suitor (haha) until she suddenly realizes her feelings at the end. Maybe Mr. Oak was a bit handsome or average but surely not a striking Playboy model that every woman would fall for.
The type of face that wasn’t impressive at first but slowly grew on you to become more handsome as you appreciate his personality. That was supposed to be the point of their love slowly growing based on experiences not looks; the movie completely missed the mark!
This love was centered on a friendship that lasted through so many parts of each other’s lives – Mr. Oak leaving his farm to work on a new one, Bathsheba taking over her uncle’s farm, Mr. Oak being fired by Bathsheba then brought back, Bathsheba being married and widowed within a year, almost losing the flock of sheep to clover and crops to thunderstorms…etc.
It was through these days they built up trust and respect for each other to run the farm successfully. Their friendship was the foreground and it isn’t until after the climax of murder that Bathsheba suddenly realizes feelings hidden in her heart.
The epiphany that she truly loves and cares for her friend who has always been by her side is the moment Thomas Hardy built the story up to! He specifically describes how the slow growing hidden love of friendship can be so different than fiery heated passion (as she had with Sergeant Troy), however it can be a much stronger deeper and mature love.
I was extremely disappointed they took a story of a beautiful, independent (but stubborn) woman making mistakes and growing out of it to respect a different type of love… and ruin it into the commonly boring and basic chick flick plot!
Thomas Hardy must be sobbing in his grave over millions of dollars spent filming a movie that ruined the actual love story.