As with any film adaptation, especially with an adaptation of a period novel, die-hard fans will draw the inevitable comparisons to the original text and complain at how the presentation of a director’s singular vision can never live up to their own imagination.
Those such critics are entirely missing the point of an adaptation: a director is not attempting to transport the world of a novel literally onscreen dialogue and all. Instead, a good director will take central elements of the text and create their very own art. Andrea Arnold’s take on Wuthering Heights was successful because it was her vision, her interpretation, not an attempt to please the myriad of Bronte fans who will all be clamoring for something very different.
The latest period drama offering comes, interestingly, from Thomas Vinterberg, director of the critically acclaimed danish drama The Hunt and co-founder of the Dogme 95 movement.
Carey Mulligan stars as the independent Bathsheba Everdeen, a new arrival to the area of Wetherbury. Her presence attracts the attentions of three very different suitors played by Matthias Schoenaerts (so fantastic in Rust and Bone), Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge.
Given both the director and the cast I have high hopes for this adaptation; being a fan of Hardy’s socio-realist dramas I am looking forward to a fine adaptation that is not merely an attempt to replicate the text onscreen.