This is a difficult task in this time period as the local businessmen seek to undermine Bathsheba at the market simply because she is a woman. However, she stands her ground and proves herself worthy of the title of mistress of the farm, while also catching the eye of the eligible older bachelor in town, Mr. William Boldwood (Michael Sheen, Underworld series), who is her neighbor. Seeing Bathsheba as the perfect candidate for a wife, he also seeks her hand in marriage after she and her assistant flirtatiously send him an unsigned Valentine and he thinks she is interested in him as well. He offers her stability and protection, something a young woman in her position could really use, but she doesn't feel the same attraction to him.
By chance one evening, as she is walking on her property, Bathsheba bumps into a dashing young soldier, Sergeant Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge) and he sort of sweeps her off her proverbial feet. She doesn't realize it, but Frank was madly in love with and previously set to marry a former employee of the farm named Fanny Robbin (Juno Temple, The Brass Teapot), but he believes he was stood up at the altar, although it was simply a miscommunication. Even though Bathsheba didn't want to marry anyone, she quickly finds herself the smitten wife of Frank and he is definitely not the kind of man to run a farm. He is foolish and arrogant and wouldn't dream of getting his hands dirty and he enjoys playing as master of the manor and spending Bathsheba's money when he can. When he bumps into Fanny in town and discovers she is penniless, sick and very pregnant with his child, his feelings for Bathsheba somewhat sour as he has rediscovered his true love. A blend of foolishness and fate converge and soon Bathsheba finds herself a widow surrounded by the sad truths of her pathetic marriage. Of course Boldwood is still there, waiting to marry her and care for her, while she finds herself being more drawn to Gabriel, who has never stopped loving her. Will she choose stability and status with Boldwood or true love with Gabriel, despite their difference in station? A hideous turn of events might just make the decision for her as her past literally comes back to haunt her.
Far from the Madding Crowd is a timeless and epic classic. Each actor plays their part so brilliantly that I didn't even feel as though they were acting - they simply embodied those characters. The sweeping vistas of Dorset, England, the location where the film was made, are simply beautiful with rolling green hills and magical forests; you'll be transported back in time as you watch Far from the Madding Crowd. Of special note is the incredible soundtrack. The music that plays in the background is gorgeous and really immerses you into the time period.
In addition to the fantastic feature film, you'll get loads of deleted scenes as well as an extended ending, a photo gallery, plus a bevy of featurettes that cover everything from the adaptation of the book, the look and locations of the film, the key characters and the fabulous director, Thomas Vinterberg.
While Far from the Madding Crowd may not be for everyone, if you enjoy period dramas, you'll love Far from the Madding Crowd.