Far from the Madding Crowd

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Far from the Madding Crowd Movie Poster Image
Strong female role model in emotional literary adaptation.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Celebrates hard work and frowns on easy means of getting money (i.e. gambling). Assumption that talent and skill will naturally pay off. A woman doesn't necessarily need a man to help her become successful or to support her, but marriage is fine if a couple loves each other. Themes include integrity and perseverance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bathsheba Everdene is a strong female role model. Though she errs by marrying a seductive soldier, she soon learns her lesson. And she's practical, headstrong, and hardworking, capable of leading, making decisions, and running a successful business. She refuses to marry for money or convenience and holds out for love/someone to whom she can be a good partner and friend.

Violence

Several sheep fall off a cliff and plunge to their deaths. Blood spatters are shown. Guns and swords are shown. Characters (and a baby) die; their dead bodies are shown. A man is verbally abusive toward his wife. Barn fire. Sick sheep are cured by stabbing them with a hollow stick to release pressure.

Sex

Passionate kissing. Touching a woman's crotch area (clothed). Sex in bed implied. A drinking song with somewhat sexual imagery.

Language

A use of "stupid."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and toasting at celebrations and parties. Characters get drunk in a social setting. Characters drink when angry, and drinking sometimes leads to irresponsibility.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Far from the Madding Crowd is an adaptation of a Thomas Hardy novel (previously filmed in 1967). It's a romantic drama, but it's hardly all poetry and flowers: There are some shocking images of sheep falling over a cliff and smashing on rocks below, blood spatters and all, and characters die (including a baby). Dead bodies are shown, as are guns and swords; a character is shot, and a man is verbally abusive toward his wife. Characters kiss, and marital sex is implied. During one steamy kiss, a man touches a woman in the crotch area (over her dress). There's some social drinking during celebrations and parties; at one point, characters get drunk and sing a somewhat suggestive song. But ultimately, heroine Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is presented as a surprisingly modern, strong female role model. Teen girls may swoon at the movie -- and also find someone to admire.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byClaireP 1 May 24, 2015

A different sort of romance

This adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel focuses mostly on the romance side of the book, and did it very well. There are quite a few kissing scenes, one inappr... Continue reading
Adult Written byTanah September 25, 2015

Amazing exceptional best movie I have seen in long time!

It is an amazing romantic drama that keeps you at the edge of your seat. 3 different men want her affections and one will win. Roller coaster of emotions. Nice... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old August 7, 2015

What's the story?

IN FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, Shepherd Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) spots a new neighbor, Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), and is immediately taken with her. He proposes marriage, but she rebuffs him. She inherits her uncle's vast but run-down farm and moves away. When Gabriel loses his flock, he leaves, winds up helping save Bathsheba's farm from a fire, and lands a job there. Meanwhile, another neighbor, the older William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) proposes marriage, but Bathsheba likewise rebuffs him. A dashing, devilish soldier (Tom Sturridge) succeeds in winning her hand, but his gambling threatens to destroy the farm. Bathsheba continues to struggle to stand on her own two feet, but will she ever find true love?

Is it any good?

The casting is picture-perfect, with Schoenaerts -- formerly a brute -- playing an appealingly soft-spoken soul, and Sheen a tender, heartbroken one. Sturridge is the villain of the piece, but he's allowed to be devilish and dashing, with a seductive side. And Mulligan shines in a surprisingly, refreshingly modern role: a woman who's capable of handling her own business and doesn't require a man to fulfill her or control her.

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration, The Hunt) previously seemed to be preoccupied with cruelty and pain, but somehow his Far from the Madding Crowd -- adapted from the 1874 Thomas Hardy novel -- winds up as a beautifully pulsing, organic creation. This kind of movie is often a festival for costume fetishists, but here the fresh, full-blooded cinematography emphasizes natural spaces and colors; Vinterberg is clearly more interested in the characters' emotional, romantic entanglements than in being stuffy or classy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Far from the Madding Crowd's violence. Which scenes were most shocking/upsetting to you? Were the deaths at all gratuitous, or are they essential to the plot? Did you expect violent content in a romantic literary adaptation?

  • How is sex portrayed in the movie? Does it seem to be a positive or negative force in the characters' lives?

  • Is Bathsheba Everdene a worthy role model? How does she demonstrate integrity and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths? What other values does she represent?

  • For those who've read the book/seen the earlier movie, how does this adaptation differ from the original novel? How does it differ from the previous movie adaptation(s)? Which version do you like best?

  • How frequently do characters drink in the movie? What role does drinking play in their lives? Are there realistic consequences?

Movie details

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love romance

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate