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.

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Sia: ‘Elastic Heart’ and ‘Big Girls Cry’

In Praise and Defense of Sia and Maddie

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Grammy’s 2015
Grammy's 2015 Closeup
Grammy’s 2015 Closeup

I am a huge fan of Sia and her videos. I made a blog post last year about her music video for her hit single, “Chandelier”. Since then, I’ve been an avid fan of Sia’s videos with Maddie. Maddie Ziegler is also a star on the reality TV show “Dance Moms” which I started watching after seeing how amazing dance moves in the “Chandelier” music video.

Sia’s music video for “Elastic Heart” was hit with ‘controversy’ when some narrow-minded people saw a little girl dancing with an older man and concluded that it was pedophilia. Of course, there’s no such thing as bad publicity and the views on the video sky rocketed. The comments flooded with people disgusted that it could ever be seen as pedophilia. Obviously it wasn’t. I saw nothing sexual at all in the video or the dance. Some people made the very good point that if anybody saw anything sexual in it, then THEY were the problem.

I saw the video as pure art. Maddie and Shia were absolutely enthralling together. They told the story of a battle between two selves: the capricious, childish, ‘free’, wild self and the grounded, adult, ‘restrained’, mindful self. The childish self teases the more adult self and it ends with the adult self being stuck in the mental ‘cage’ of inhibition while the childish self can escape the ‘cage’ and be free. It was deeply emotional and one of the most profound music videos I have ever seen. Utterly beautiful.

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Sia’s music video for “Big Girls Cry” took a drastic turn from her last two videos in that there was no dancing involved. Instead, Maddie delivered a heartfelt performance using just her face and her hands. It was breathtaking for me to watch the raw emotion pour out of her. My interpretation of it is that it tells a story of a young girl who wants so badly to say how she really feels inside but is kept muffled by society and has to restrain herself from spilling her feelings out. She masks herself using make up and tries to pretend like everything is okay. However, its killing her on the inside to not let her emotions out and eventually she bursts. I never cease to be amazed by Maddie’s talent and the video always moves me tears. Powerfully touching.

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I think that Maddie Ziegler coupled with Sia makes for a sizzling, electric pair. Sia’s masterful language and searing vocals combined with Maddie’s enrapturing talent and brilliant moves produce top class music videos. Their videos are a passionate trilogy. I’ll be sure to follow Maddie on Dance Moms and continue watching Sia’s videos.

And to anyone who has a problem with their videos: “Art is meant to disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed.”