No Reaction to a Dead Body

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! This is a second follow up post for the other aspect of the film that deeply bothered me.

A main part of the book’s plot is when Bathsheba suspects Sergeant Troy had an affair with Fannie but was not 100% sure. The movie did not include the focus around the lock of golden hair in Sergeant Troy’s watch -but directly showed him whispering with Fannie at a fair. This is how Bathsheba suspects he knows the women and has a history with her for the movie version. This simplified version is seemingly fine to directly draw viewer’s attention to the suspicion and skip over scenes regarding the hair.

However, once Bathsheba breaks open Fannie’s delivered coffin to find two bodies … there is no great reaction from her! There is an extra body lying in the coffin as proof of the affair between her husband and the poor farm worker- yet she barely cries or reacts!

How can this rich independently successful woman not react to her husband’s peasant mistress and newborn child?

In the book there is a sense of rage and a breakdown as she realizes Fannie was left destitute and pregnant while Troy tricked his way into marriage with a well-to-do woman! I don’t know about other people- but I would have quite a strong reaction to that discovery and to my husband when he  got home!

Bathsheba wept so quietly and barely reacted -even when Troy came home to insult her and claim his undying love for Fannie. That conversation is almost pleasant and goes against the book’s dialogue where Bathsheba tries to argue and fight back with her fierce willful nature that defines her infamous character – yet the movie depicts  a weak or meager woman that calmly listens to insults before running out of the room in tears.

Sorry, but these scenes simply aren’t believable for how the well-developed characters would actually react to such scandal. The movie downplayed an integral part of the plot which Thomas Hardy crafted so carefully – just another disappointment with this film.



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