I suppose if you think Hardy is depressing or slow as a novelist, you are going to think screen adaptations of his novels are the same. The Woodlanders as a novel is limited in scope, as all of Hardy is, concentrating on a narrow group of people interacting and misunderstanding each other, and above all being unaware of opportunity. That the film of Woodlanders here takes place in an almost pre-raphaelite blaze of autumnal colour is an almost ironic comment of the restraint of Giles Winterborne. His is a world under invasion by the outside, of Grace's new ideas as she returns to her home after education; Hardy's own world, in Dorset, was similarly being dragged into a new century by the arrival of the railway and of communication. Communication upsets any staus quo, however deeply rooted it may be, and it is the dual effect of loss and gain, simultaneously, through social change, that Hardy comments on here .
The film is gorgeous to watch, wonderfully acted and with an evocative musical score; but if it's too slow for you, then go watch The Simpsons. Hardy's art is one of gradual, organic growth, and it is to Agland's credit that this adaptation is faithful to the principle. Take the time, and let it flow over you; don't bother watching the clock.