Far From the Madding Crowd
In the words of Morgen, “I like the music, not the story”
That pretty much sums up my view as well. Over the summer I listened to Far From the Madding Crowd, a novel by Thomas Hardy (1874) as an audiobook from LibriVox. It took me awhile to get through because the main character is just awful. Bathsheba Everdeen is conceited, narcissistic, haughty, obstinate, and imprudent. (see: Scarlet O’Hara, Gone with the Wind) She toys with other’s feelings, makes rash decisions, and tries too hard to be independent. They call it a love story, but I call it a romantic train wreck. However, despite my feelings for the novel, the movie trailers looked too beautiful to pass up (also, Carey Mulligan).
Why, you are asking, is this a Serendipity Suggests if I despise the story?Because the trailers did not steer me wrong, the movie was beautiful. I loved the coloring, the costuming, and most importantly the soundtrack. And the soundtrack is what I’m suggesting to you today. I’m slightly obsessed with movie soundtracks. (What’s the difference between a score and a soundtrack? If you know, please comment below!) The music seemed to float the movie along. While both the film and the soundtrack could, I believe, stand apart and be strong, together they make a tremendous team. A few tracks are from party scenes and the dance music is lively and keeps in time with the scene. Overall, the rest of the tracks are very heavy in string instruments (with a smattering of others, of course), which is a characteristic in most of my favorite soundtracks. Strings give these tracks an air of dramatic subtlety, a gentle ebb and flow to the music that cannot really be obtained with many other instruments. Strings have this ability to pick up the tempo and drama while still remaining gentle and soothing. This dramatic subtlety plays in nicely to the visuals of the film. A lot of beautiful landscape shots and close ups of bits of nature fill in spaces along the story and the soothing strings seem to echo the beautiful lines of the countryside. The coloring is soft and unsaturated. Full of browns, greens, grays, and blues, Sgt. Troy’s red uniform sticks out harshly. It is perhaps, a sign of the poor choices that come with Bathsheba choosing that path.
One of my favorite tracks is “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme”. The song is hauntingly beautiful. A bit mournful, Carey Mulligan sings the song (mostly) alone and a cappella and is featured on the trailer I embedded above. At first, I thought the song was an odd choice for that scene, although the concept of not giving your time (thyme) to any man seemed to fit her views on marriage. But upon further inspection of the song lyrics and its imagery and symbolism therein, the song almost echoes the tale of the film. (Although she really should have listened to her own advice).
So, I highly suggest you give the soundtrack a listen. I’ve been listening to it almost exclusively for a week now, and I’m still in love. Also, I wouldn’t mind trying on a few of her dresses!!
Do you have any favorite movie soundtracks? Do you think you’ll give Far From the Madding Crowd a chance? If you want me to break down the lyrics of “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme”, let me know in the comments below.
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