Far from the Madding Crowd: Movie Review
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Far from the Madding Crowd is about a young woman (named Bathsheba Everdene) in Victorian England who inherits a large farm in the English countryside from her deceased uncle and must choose between three suitors asking for her hand in marriage.
Far from the Madding Crowd is a lovely depiction of Victorian England and a wonderful example of unconditional love, but it contains some strong violence and sexual content unsuitable for children, so extreme caution is advised. (For more story details, go to movieguide.org.)
Filmed with much care, Far from the Madding Crowd is based on the book by Thomas Hardy and has a fascinating quality to it that takes us into the world of Victorian England. Rather than focus on high-society London, it stays in the small country town of Weatherby, showing the agricultural, aristocratic way of life. As one would expect from this time period, social propriety is observed, and it's refreshing to see people live with dignity and respect as compared to much of today's society.
As is the custom of many movies adapted from books, the characters aren't given as much time to develop. This leads to what seem to be abrupt decisions and actions that are out of place with a character's pattern of behavior up to that point. The plot is also very contrived. Bathsheba is torn about how to handle her various suitors, but it's clear she and Gabriel are the right match for each other. So, what to do about it? The writer helps her out by conveniently getting rid of the other two men.
That said, Far from the Madding Crowd has a lot of good things going for it. There is no offensive language whatsoever, and it promotes biblical values such as respect, unconditional love, hard work, and morality. There are also several scenes of the characters attending church, which shows there's a Christian source to their values.
Gabriel is a perfect example of patience and Christ-like love for other people. Ultimately, Gabriel's unconditional love for Bathsheba overcomes her pride. Of course, every good movie needs a villain, and Frank serves this purpose. His immoral actions bring despair and heartache to others, but they don't go unpunished.
Far from the Madding Crowd does contain some sexual content unsuitable for children. The violence stems largely from the harsh realities of farm life, such as images of sheep falling to their death, or using a shotgun to kill both animals and people. Because of this content, Movieguide advises caution.
NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org. Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.
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