Carey Mulligan is Bathsheba Everdene a headstrong and independent owner of a farm who attracts three suitors. Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak a strong sheep farmer of few words, Tom Sturridge as Francis Troy a dynamic army sergeant and Michael Sheen as William Boldwood the mature and reserved owner of the next door farm.
Going into this I have neither seen other versions of this tale, nor have I read the book. So I had a completely clean slate. And I have to say I really enjoyed it. I was completely taken with it and I teared at the teary bits, I got angry at the get angry bits and I swooned at the swoony bits. But I think the film’s strongest assets are its cinematography and location. It is gorgeous. And the film really relies on these two features to set its atmosphere of this fantastic Dorset landscape in which you really feel like you are there.
The performances here are universally fantastic, especially Carey Mulligan in the central role playing the character she appears born to play. She looks and sounds perfect for Bathsheba and she takes you through the story fantastically well. Elsewhere Michael Sheen as always is brilliant and completely different from the last role he played and Matthias Schoenaerts is very good as the strong but silent type farmer, although his accent is a little odd until you get used to it. However Tom Sturridge is less impressive, this may be because the other performances are so spot on, but I did just find he lacked a certain weight.
Overall though I did really enjoy the Madding Crowd and really went with it, although at times I did feel like I knew it was a book adaptation and that it was rushing certain parts.