Under the Greenwood Tree (2005)

This sweet and sunny film was adapted from an early Thomas Hardy novel (surprise, surprise)!  Beautiful, educated, and sweet-tempered Fancy Day (Keeley Hawes) comes from Exeter to take the job of schoolteacher in the village of Mellstock to be near her sick father, a retired gamekeeper.  Dick Dewy (James Murray), his father, and a few of their friends are amateur musicians, so they sing carols on Christmas Eve.  He falls in love w/ Fancy at first sight when she comes to the window to praise their song. (Murray bears a striking resemblance to Stephen Campbell Moore, another young British actor.)


Dick is tongue-tied when he sees Fancy after church, but manages to invite her to a party. 

But the humble carrier (moving man) is not Fancy’s only admirer.  She catches the eye of successful, middle-aged farmer, Mr. Shiner, and the village’s new pastor, Parson Maybold (Ben Miles).

One man offers her security; another offers adventure.  But Fancy has great chemistry w/ Dick, who strives to win her affection, unaware that her father feels he’s beneath her.

This story covers Hardy’s main themes- rural/small town life, working vs. middle class customs, courtship between those of different status, and the individual’s search for a place in the world.

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