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Nothing like Hardy to stitch life's rich tapestry.

Byline: Robert Sutcliffe

THOMAS Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd is one of the most romantic and heartbreaking novels ever penned. I read it voraciously as a teenager and it has now been turned into a film starring Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, the headstrong, vivacious heroine with a terrible choice in men.

"With you The first of them, the plodding Gabriel Oak, proposes to her within just a few pages and is peremptorily turned down.

know going in tears'' She may have some claim to be one of our first feminists with the line: "I don't want to be some man's property."

She is nobody's fool though and having been gifted a farm by an uncle shows her mettle by promptly sacking her dishonest bailiff.

Given her beauty and position in society she is not short of suitors for long and the next man to be smitten is poor Farmer Boldwood, a lonely neighbouring farmer of mature years.

She sends him the most memorable Valentine's card in history commanding him: 'Marry me!' The stunned and repressed farmer becomes infatuated with her only for her to fall in love/lust? with the dashing Sergeant Troy who finally piques her fancy with a highly eroticized display of swordsmanship in his scarlet jacket.

But with Hardy you always know it is going to end in tears and sure enough her relationship with the caddish soldier quickly falls apart.

Hardy is end He has no respect for the rhythms of farming life and the next thing Bathsheba knows is all her farmhands are staggering around drunk on his brandy.

And it turns out his heart belongs to a servant girl, Fanny Robin, but in a classic Hardy twist she had shown up at the wrong church to marry him and, having been humiliated, he terminates the relationship.

In a dramatic finale Troy is shot dead by Boldwood and Bathsheba marries her one true friend, Bro. Oak.

All of life is there in just a couple of hours of compelling cinematography.

"With Hardy you always know it is going to end in tears''


Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba and Tom Sturridge as Sergeant Troy in Far From The Madding Crowd

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Title Annotation:News; Opinion; Columns
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 9, 2015
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