If ever there was a lesson in how to flawlessly wear gingham and bandana print whilst being a ballsy protofeminist it is this- Carey Mulligan in Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd. As the film opens with Carey swinging a leg over her chestnut mare and metaphorically sticking up two fingers to conformity and dress-friendly side-saddle we know it’s going to be a good ‘un.
Set in beautiful Dorset, you would have to do a double take in comparing it with the rolling pastures and bare rugged trees of Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice. Had this film existed when I was writing about my time tearing round the Dorset countryside with my girlfriends last year it would have been just as heavily referenced- we were tapping into Carey’s carefree Dorset spirit! (click here to see us in action in Country Pursuits). Carey plays Thomas Hardy’s strong-willed Bathsheba, who, whether holding lamb, sheepdog, or devastatingly handsome Mr Oak, looked like utter perfection. Butter wouldn’t melt dimples, flyaway baby-hairs a plenty and nipped-waist dresses that make you look down at your popcorn (and waistline) in complete despair.
As with any good period novel-cum-film there are plot twists, tragedy, comedy, love triangles and moral dilemmas, all of sizeable proportions. Be prepared to both giggle and cry, which in this instance could even be as prematurely as first glimpse of Matthias Schoenaerts on the poster (who is yet more improved thanks to a grubby complexion). Gather your girlfriends and book your seats. If you are in London then I would definitely recommend going to one of the independent Picturehouse cinemas (click here to book).