It always startles me to see Christmas stuff up in October at Costco. I guess that’s what got me started thinking about this gem of a movie, Far From the Madding Crowd. (This is a remake of the same titled film from 1967— That is quite the title on the poster! Julie Christie was Bathsheba Everdene. We watch the new one, although I remember seeing this when I was going to BYU—It played at their International Cinema one week.)
We savor this treat of a movie at Christmas when my adult children are taking a break . It is so richly made, based on the Thomas Hardy classic novel. It’s the story of a woman who is pursued by three men—which one will she choose?
This is one of those films you can watch with your children and then talk about what made each man a good or bad choice. The movie shows how someone can be carried away by the outer attractions of a person and not the stellar inner qualities– “like quiet strength and unselfish devotion.”1
My mother talked to my younger sister and me a lot about who we were going to marry. We were on the end of our family and we would lie on her bed and she would tell us story after story about qualities to look for. She told us about her mother who sat alone in church for the majority of her life, and how we “would want someone who would sit next to you, right here,” and she would pat her shoulder. Testimony became important to me. Then she talked about not going after the most handsome or charming guy, since everyone is swooning over their looks they don’t have to be funny, or interesting or thoughtful. Far From the Madding Crowd plays out all of that advice my mother gave us in the lives of the three suitors of Bathsheba Everdene. Mom didn’t really address the older, wealthy suitor type, but my husband has a saying that always makes me laugh—
“When you marry for money, you earn every dollar.”
In the most passionate part of the above movie there are some things you may not want your children to see. We have rediscovered Vidangel. They were taken to court by the big studios who didn’t want their movies altered. The old Vidangel would filter swear words, sexual scenes and violence out of movies that we, the customer, would buy from them. They would “sell” the movie to us and then we would “sell” it back. That didn’t fly with the big guys. Vidangel went to court and was able to hammer out a deal. Go to their website,
and sign up for their 10.00 a month subscription. They feature Netflix and Amazon Prime, among movie streaming sites. They have a short tutorial if it seems confusing. I highly recommend it. Their tagline is, “Now you can watch whatever the Bleep you want!”
Oh, and the above quote in my title of this blog? My youngest son would say that with a big moan and groan when his two older sisters and I were settled comfortably watching our bliss— any Jane Austen or other like-minded Regency movie. Sometimes he couldn’t resist watching with us, and I told him. “Cameron, you are going to be able to pull out these Jane Austen quotes that will impress any girl worth her salt. Having watched these movies will make you irresistable!”
This is one of my favorite parts of mothering—finding an amazing movie that teaches character strengths in a rich and memorable way, and talking about it with my children. We know as Christians, that those wonderful qualities that Jesus highlighted in the Sermon on the Mount are what we aspire too. Here is another gem of a movie—2 minutes— of Jesus Christ teaching his disciples those inner qualities that will bring us peace and joy. Great for Family Home Evening!
Any other good ideas on movies that teach character strengths?
(I am not promoting Vidangel in any way that I will benefit financially from)