Film Review: Far From the Madding Crowd: Endearing Feminist Romance

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I have a confession to make: I really, really, really love Period Dramas. There’s just something about history that I’m so transfixed by: the fashion, the scenery, the old customs. It’s enchanting to me.

When I heard about Far From the Madding Crowd, I was thrilled. It wasn’t just that it was a period drama. I was drawn to the heroine’s description as headstrong and independent. Bathsheba Everdene (played by the dainty Carey Mulligan) was a woman who could take care of herself in a society that dictates that women be taken care of. I couldn’t wait to watch that unfold onscreen, being a feminist and all.

Hollywood starlet Carey Mulligan during the filming of an adaptation of the novel Far from the Madding Crowd in Sherborne, Dorset. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 20, 2013. Some scenes from the adaptation of the classic Thomas Hardy novel are being filmed in part of the town which has been transformed to fit the Victorian setting of the film. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Hollywood starlet Carey Mulligan during the filming of an adaptation of the novel Far from the Madding Crowd in Sherborne, Dorset. Photo credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

There was also the not one, not two, but THREE (yes, three!) love interests for one heroine. The hopeless romantic that I am, I was almost giddy with excitement.

So how did Far From the Madding Crowd fare?

I found the background music heavenly, enamored with the violin and piano sounds.

All the main characters were just so pretty and handsome. There was a lot of really good eye-candy with such a beautiful cast. All three love interests (played by Matthias Schoenartes, Tom Sturridge, and Michael Sheen) were exceptionally dashing, charming, and disarming in their own different ways.

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I was overjoyed to watch a feminist lead character. She was independent, the boss, owned property, and didn’t need “things” from a man to marry him. I admired her self-sufficiency and strength greatly.

The scenery was so gorgeous: rollicking hills, luscious green pastures, and tranquil bodies of water. Being an artsy person, I was really enchanted by the interior designs – artful with grandeur. I love really stately interior designs in my period dramas, and was blown away by the elegance in Far From the Madding Crowd.

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I was especially enamored with the moving romance at the center of the movie. It was long-lasting and touching with a beautiful ending of endearing passion and love. The sexual tension was drawn out for maximum effect. Bathsheba Everdene finally got with the one man who’d stuck with her through thick and thin. It was so sweet. The secondary romance was a tragic love pulling at my heartstrings, which hit me deep.

A particular quote stood out to me, spoken by Bathsheba, my feminist heroine: “It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in a language chiefly made by men to express theirs.” So thought provoking.

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I’d give Far From the Madding Crowd a 10/10. It is a magnificently directed film with a very aesthetically pleasing cinematography. I feel like it told a great love story and really enjoyed the feminist values. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone who loves period dramas, strong female leads, and heartwarming romance.

Movie Review: Divergent

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Release Date: March 21, 2014 (USA)

Watched: March 23, 2014

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So, I just watched Divergent yesterday with my friend Christine. I didn’t exactly have super high expectations for the film, because even though I really loved the book (it’s one of my top ten favorites), book-to-movie adaptations tend to disappoint.

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I was pleasantly surprised! The movie far surpassed my expectations. I was on a thrill-ride from start to finish, just like when I was reading the book over a year ago.

The movie began by explaining the faction system, and I was really happy about how they were presented. They were just how I imagined them! It was really interesting seeing them in just distinctly different modes and colors of dress, as well as environments.

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Shailene Woodley as Tris didn’t disappoint. She portrayed her character so accurately, with her transformation from the beginning as a ‘weak’ Abnegation girl at the beginning to a ‘strong’ Dauntless girl at the end.

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Her family was on point, and Ansel Elgort as Caleb was pretty good at being a conflicted Abnegation-turned-Erudite.Maggie Q as Tori was perfect. She was flawlessly tough and unwilling to get involved at the beginning, to Tris’s adviser on concealing her divergence later. Zoe Kravitz was brilliant at being the quick-tongued Christina, her first friend in Dauntless.

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Theo James was the perfect Four. He played him better than I could have ever imagined. He oozed strength, leadership, mysteriousness, and enigma from every pore. He was also ridiculously hot and incurably swoon-able.

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I was incredibly delighted by the initiation. It was just so accurate to the books, and I really enjoyed following Tris on the roller coaster that was the dauntless initiation experience, as well as watch her start off as the ‘weakest link’ to grow into a ‘fearless’, brave person of her own right. There were so many intense moments that I got such a thrill from watching, as I remembered from reading the book.

I think that Tris and Four’s romance developed as well as it was in the book, and I fangirled watching him slowly fall for her. I think that that was really well done.

I am so ecstatic that every single character  was portrayed to the core. Christina was both wonderfully and infuriatingly honest and candid, Will was humorously intelligent, Jeanine was creepily cold and logical, Eric was downright hateable, Peter was simply a douchebag, and so on.

I thoroughly relished Tris’ badassness in the fear sequences, as well as her bravery and intelligence that was revealed by her running after the train even when Eric said that she was done, and climbing up the top of the ferris wheel, and capturing the flag during capture the flag.

The last part was hard to watch, and I was amazed by how emotionally profound it was. It was extremely cool watching Tris and her mom fight side by side as a strong mother-daughter duo. I was hit deeply with emotion when Tris killed Will, when her mom died, when her dad died, and when Four almost killed Tris under the serum. I was blown away by Shailene’s incredible acting in all those scenes that were so tough for her character.

I relished in Tris and Four’s defeat of Jeanine’s serum even more than in the books. Just a million thumbs up for Shailene and Theo!!!

The ending was perectly just like in the book, so I was intensely glad about that. It started well and it ended better.

Now my only complaints about the movie:

They didn’t show Will and Christina being a couple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the flying !@#$%? How is Tris going to be racked with guilt in the next movie for not only killing her friend, but her good friend’s love? How is Christina supposed to fall out with Tris in the next movie? Will and Christina being a couple was IMPORTANT!!!

Ansel Elgort as Caleb. It was really hard to properly watch him be Tris’s brother because all I was thinking was, “Ewwwww. You two are going to be making out in your next movie, The Fault in Our Stars. Just, no.” *shudder*

No Edward and Myra. What were they thinking??????? Peter was supposed to stab Edward in the eye and make him become factionless for two reasons: We could see how horrible Peter really was, instead of just a harmless douchebag, and because it would be pivotal in the second book with Edward’s character and his involvement with the revolution.

The absence of Four’s advice to Tris after Al and the others almost threw down the ravine along the lines of this: “Keep safe, but when you get the chance, destroy them.” I was waiting for that. That was one of my best lines by Four in the book.

But all in all, I was so enthralled by the Divergent Movie that I’ll still give it a 9/10. I adored the ordinary and extraordinary acts of bravery that Tris exhibited, from being the first to jump, to speaking out against Eric’s cruelty with the knife throwing. I also fell completely in love with the landscape. The Chicago wasteland was the perfect scenery. My favorite scene was the ‘flying scene’. It was waaaaay better than I imagined it, and it was such an amazing joyride for Tris. I felt Tris’s charge of adrenaline. It was exhilarating and entrancing, and kept me (figuratively) at the edge of my seat!!!

Favorite Quotes

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