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Bathsheba Everdene, a young vain girl, has just taken over her uncle's farm. Her pretty face, wealth, and naive personality attracts three men who wish to marry her. Naïve and vain, she gets herself into a love tangle between them. As time passes and responsibilities pile up into a stressful mess, she begins to learn the hardships of life.Written by
Comparison with the book and with the 2015 version
I just finished writing my review for the 2015 version. I saw both versions within 2 weeks of each other for the first time and only 2 months after reading the book for the first time (absolutely loved it!!!).
Of the two movie versions I've seen, this is by far and away the more accurate of the two. Not surprising that Masterpiece Theater would trump Hollywood in that field, especially considering the runtime is twice as long. Granted that the 2015 version is much prettier to look at, I just think a digitally remastered Blu-ray release is what this version really needs. And new cover art! Rarely have I found such awful-looking cover art concealing such a good movie.
The actress for Bathsheba in this movie is way more age-appropriate (she's supposed to be about 18) for this part than Carey Mulligan (who just turned 30) in the new one. Her playfulness and flightiness make more sense at her young age. Paloma Baeza seems less confident as an actress than she is in "The Way We Live Now" (love her in that movie), but since the character Bathsheba is often conflicted about what she should do, it works for the role.
Oak and Troy were well-cast, I thought. The actor for Oak surprised me as a choice at first (I knew him best from the 1998 "Vanity Fair"), but then he seemed to fit quite well. And this Troy did a much better job than the one in the 2015 version, in my opinion.
I really did not like the actor for Boldwood at all at first (sorry, but he seems a bit creepy and his mouth always looks upside-down to me), but I'm watching this through a second time and he's bothering me much less than he did the first time, as I'm getting more used to him. He's still a bit too old for the part. Hardy describes him (I thought at the time I read it that it was a very clever description) thus: "Apparently he had some time ago reached that entrance to middle age at which a man's aspect naturally ceases to alter for the term of a dozen years or so.... Thirty-five and fifty were his limits of variation--he might have been either, or anywhere between the two." Nigel Terry was 53 at the time he made this, but easily looks 60 or older.
Just as a warning, there are a few brief scenes that are not appropriate for children. I tend to make the mistake sometimes in thinking that all PBS movies will be at PG standards (I wish they would), but that is not always the case. It is not extremely explicit (perhaps I will add a parental advisory note for this), but definitely gets to PG-13 content a few times.
Overall this is a very good and mostly faithful rendition of a great book. I'd venture to say that about 90% of this version is portrayed close (maybe shortened or adjusted for the screen, but generally true to the original characters' actions/intents) to what was in the book. And with almost 4 hours of viewing time, they are able to cover most of the story quite thoroughly, including spending some time showing the many minor characters as distinct individuals (which is something that the 2015 version has no time to do, to its loss, as much of the book is spent in the conversations of the farm hands).
I plan to watch this frequently, and if they do make a Blu-ray release, I plan to upgrade as soon as possible!
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