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Far From the Madding Crowd, an Opinion

Updated on May 29, 2012
Julie Christie as Bathsheba
Julie Christie as Bathsheba

A Classic?

"Far From the Madding Crowd was once an undeniable classic film. After a second look, many years later, I'm not so sure this description still fits.

The stars give good performances, the scenery is lush, and the pacing is decent enough, but the basic story itself just doesn't seem to hold up. Upon a second viewing, I found the substance of the film to be weak and boring.

Julie Christie seemed blanched. Why didn't they give her lips any color at all? Somehow/someway they made a naturally beautiful woman seem awfully plain.

The happy ending doesn't quite fit either. Why would Christie, after so many years, find Alan Bates suddenly a good catch?

Having Peter Finch held in lock up for eternity hardly seemed satisfactory after his genuine devotion to Christie over many years.

And don't we lose a little respect for Christie when she chooses the worthless Terence Stamp? And why does Stamp marry Christie if his heart really belongs to the woman with whom he basically had tossed aside?

The tragedies of Stamp and Finch could have been avoided if Christie had somehow realized her affection toward Bates, but I guess it took the destruction of two lives for the character to come to this realization.

Maybe my disappointment really goes to the book by Thomas Hardy. Maybe my gripe is really with the novel and not the movie. When characters seem not just mixed up but rather crazy, it's hard not to take these flaws all the way back to their source.

Terence Stamp (as Sergeant Troy) and Julie Christie (as Bathsheba)
Terence Stamp (as Sergeant Troy) and Julie Christie (as Bathsheba)
Alan Bates as Gabriel Oak
Alan Bates as Gabriel Oak
Peter Finch as William Boldwood and Terence Stamp as Sergeant Troy
Peter Finch as William Boldwood and Terence Stamp as Sergeant Troy

Movie Trailer


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