For fans of Thomas Hardy (Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Far From The Madding Crowd), I present to you Under The Greenwood Tree. Victorian society seems to be very unpopular among authors of that day. Idle gossip might ruin a young lady’s reputation. Prospects, and a station in life, always compete against true love. What might the neighbors think if you marry below one’s rank? In Under The Greenwood Tree, our young schoolteacher gets three proposals for marriage. She can marry for money, for adventure, or for love. As usual, love always associates with the have-nots, but Hardy adds ambition to the mix. Sumptuously filmed in a more innocent time, this is the story of “the adoration of Miss Fancy Day.” I give Under The Greenwood Tree 3.5 Gavels. It has too few reviews to get a critic rating but receives a 74% Audience score.
Educated Fancy Day is new to the town of Mellstock. Immediately, she catches they eye of the older, rambling, braggart landowner, Mr. Shinar. Her neighbor is the better-looking, but arrogant and condescending, Parson Maybold. Also smitten is the tongue-tied, handsome, working class carrier, Dick Dewy. Each offers her a different kind of life, a different kind of love. What’s a girl to do, especially after she promises her father never to see Dick ever again?
If you haven’t seen Keeley Hawes in The Bodyguard, check both out on Netflix, an excellent six-part political thriller. Here, as Fancy Day, she simmers with passion, and confusion. James Murray (Medici, 6 Underground) seems a little sappy for Dick Dewy, but being lovelorn does that to a guy, so I am told. Steve Pemberton and Ben Miles play Shinar and Maybold effectively. Do they really have a chance? Remember, in Victorian England, anything can happen.
Thomas Hardy writes “the littler the maid, the bigger the riddle.” And, off we go Under The Greenwood Tree, as the seasons change, so do the fortunes of our three suitors. The Silver Petticoat Review posts “Under the Greenwood Tree is a light-hearted and, at times, rather humorous adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel of the same name from 1872. But here be no tragedy, no debasement, no ruination, no cruelty, no subterfuge. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like Thomas Hardy at all, but it is!” So, for those of you uninterested in tragedy, debasement, ruination, cruelty, and subterfuge, give this one a shout. I rather enjoyed it!