I think this adaptation was simply stunning. It remained, as far as I could see, true not only to the spirit of the book but also to the main events described there. In a brief reply to those who may find this depressing, that's Hardy's 'bag' - Plus, I don't think it reflects that Hardy 'hated' Tess. Rather, he told the tale of a young, independent-spirited girl who holds to her set of values despite the people around her. Her parents do love their daughter but are hopelessly naive about what the D'Urberville name might bring, and send Tess off as a young, vulnerable girl; being pushed into the path of Alec D'Urberville, who abuses Tess's naivete, her innocence is stolen and, as is characteristic of the whole story, fated events carry Tess on against her will. When she finds the thing she wants, love and marriage with Angel Claire, fate deals another blow to set her off course. The story is really about the cruelty of fate and the inability of humans to resist its power. But Hardy also considered a loss of religious faith which reflected his own and this is portrayed really well in this film. Other key themes were the effects of the industrial revolution on the countryside culture and life -
this is well depicted in the film.
The acting, beautiful music and good use of lighting / scenery also recommend this film - its so nice to see an adaptation which might inspire you to read the book (probably still the best way to enjoy this tale) than one which puts you off.