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Posts Tagged ‘Catherine Earnshaw’

Recommended: ☆☆☆☆    

Running time: 105 min, Genre: Gothic film

Some people say this is a horrible movie and some people say this is an excellent movie. For me, the more I watched it, the more I liked it. This Wuthering Heights film is what I consider the ‘classic’ version (to me the melodrama 1939 version doesn’t count but is impressive for it’s time.) It is a fantastic adaptation and is possibly my favorite because I love the atmosphere and feel of this version most. But it’s not perfect, there’s a lot of things I would change.  This film begins with an interesting cameo of Sinead O’Connor as Emily Bronte, who narrates the story to the audiences, very cool. (Maybe she should have played Catherine instead, she looks pretty with hair! 🙂 )

Juliette Binoche’s performance as Catherine is lovely and she has natural beauty (I think she looks a lot like Julia Roberts). Her portrayal of Cathy is playful and vivacious. However they seem to left out her bad display of temper, being a haughty spoiled brat that she is in the text. She looks too mature for the part, all that giggling did not help her look any younger! Suffice, she gave us some great scenes. I love when Cathy finally tells of her love of Heathcliff, her facial expression as she says it breaks your heart. The scene before her death when she hallucinates at the window looking at Wuthering Heights, is very nicely done. She is believable as her own daughter, though her playing double role is a bad move. Cathy Jr isn’t suppose to look anything like her mother!

Ralph Fiennes is a very fine actor and is adept at playing brooding characters with a lot of pent up passion brewing under the surface. The part where Heathcliff breaks into the chapel and holds her body was unforgetable. His performance makes you see the hurt without him saying a word, but something just isn’t right. He’s got that leering vampire look happening. Oh how I hated that long, greasy, black wig on his head! Come to think of it, everyone has bad hair in this film. I think he looks a bit stiff in some of the scenes, that even his speech and mannerisms are with an unnatural restraint (honestly he bores me sometimes.) I imagined Heathcliff a lot tougher, angrier, and too emotionally immature to keep his fury under wrap. I think his coldness played out better in his latter years. Like Binoche, he is simply too mature. Though I prefer Tom Hardy’s portrayal better, this Heathcliff (working with the script given) is unsympathetic and more violent, which is closer to the book in that sense. There are scenes of him smacking Cathy Jr around. Heathcliff is a woman beater; he savagely beats his wife Isabella and his son Linton.

Majority of the supporting cast was supperb, especially Janet McTeer as Ellen Dean. Jason Riddington as Hareton didn’t look right, I think he belongs on the set of Tarzan instead. The film feels a bit rushed. Much of their childhood and sibling rivalry are glossed over. I wanted to see more early toxic family life and was rather disappointed that the character Hindley is given so little attention. Like the other versions, the love between the two main characters is established rather briefly. 

I love the atmosphere and gothic ‘feel’ of this movie most. They definitely had the budget to create that old, other-wordly, ethereal, elaborate backdrop. The costumes are beautiful and accurate. The cinematography, music, and scenery are stunning, lush, and haunting. The Heights looks fucking awesome, inside and out! I never imagined it looking like a ‘mini Gothic castle’ but I loved it. The Grange is far too fancy but the interior is what I had imagined it to be, with crimson walls and laced with gold and crystals.

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Recommended: ☆☆☆☆

Running time: 142 min (2 episodes)  Genre: Gothic FilmThis is a personal favorite and will be the one I will watch again and again, over a period of time. This version is something very different from the others; it refuses to be a slave to your Penguin Classic, taking huge liberties with the novel bringing literal events to where once these events were vaguely implied at best, though I didn’t think this was particularly problematic while the innate nature of the novel is still intact. I won’t be pointing out every changes here, I am not some possessive Bronte nerd. Lets put it this way, this is not your grandma’s Wuthering Heights!

This movie keeps your full attention. It begins on a dark, bleak night with throbbing rhythm of guitar music, the camera swung low at ground level creeping along a dirt path, crawling into the house like an animal and up the stairs. Old Heathcliff is laying in Catherine’s bed, half-dreaming, with her ghost haunting him at the window. Then it  jumps to the moment when Linton is delivered by the dying Edgar Linton to Heathcliff at the Heights. While the beginning was done out of sequence, I knew right off the bat what they were doing. But I rather they kept Lockwood as an outsider to witness and unfold the mystery of this remote household of angry, unhappy people. Suffice, the state of this household is enough to grab hold of you and make you want to know more. How on earth can these people be so wretched? Without Lockwood, Nelly Dean (Sarah Lancashire) plays a very minimal role here. This is not a bad thing since she kinda sucks!

The bulk of this movie focuses on Heathcliff and Catherine, played by Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley. This pair has great chemistry with some authentic accents. Much of the success of this film is spectacularly with Tom Hardy as Heathcliff. Tom portrays Heathcliff in a way that no other actor has been able to capture. He manages to be dangerous, menacing, vulnerable, passionate, and intelligent, making the part very much his own (he’s gorgeous to boot.)  Tom’s interpretation is spot on and is exactly what I like to see. He plays his tranformation from stable boy-weathy gentlemen-madman with ease. Charlotte Riley is from northern England and has a Yorkshire accent. I do like her portayal of a natural tomboyish Catherine, though no actress has completely nailed this role for me. And call me picky if you must, I think she looks too plain for the part. She conveys little emotions and the iconic “I am Heathcliff” scene was a let down (I prefer Juliet Binoche in this scene better.) 

It’s too bad they remove much of the violence from the book to make the two main characters more likeable. In this day and age who wouldn’t be upset to see Heathcliff hangs a pet dog or beats his wife and kid? What makes us more sympathetic towards Heathcliff is how they show Hindley, the rotten brother, destroyed himself and the people around him. He is a major douchebag in this film and was brilliantly played by Burn Gorman. There is an actual shirt off, hit-with-the-lash floggy scene. I think the “love scene” with Heathcliff and Isabella (Rosalind Halstead) is incredibly well done. He’s so gentle with her when they made love for the first time, then when she tries to kiss him but he coldly tells her, “Don’t look at me.” Whoa! It is so obvious that he is making love to Cathy in his mind!

The music in this version is absolutely beautiful and is very unique, with mostly guitars, drums, and flutes. The final scene when the haunted Heathcliff is walking with a peaceful countenance is very touching and bittersweet–one of my favorite scenes. 

The rest of the cast didn’t excite me and I didn’t particularly care for. The setting and asthetics of this film isn’t my favorite, which is probably a budget issue. The dresses are plain looking and seems all wrong! Why is first generation wearing empire style dresses while the second generation wearing 1770’s gowns? We all know Catherine is already dead before 1801 when Lockwood arrives but her tomb says 1805-1830! Why change this? The Heights in this version looks fine, with its deep narrow windows, stone walls, and ornate carvings, but the Grange is not what I’d imagined. The Grange is described in the text as:

“…beautiful– a splendid place, carpeted in crimson, with crimson chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of glass-drops hanging in silver chains in the centre, and shimmering with little soft tapers.” 

I think the Grange in this version is too pale and airy or stale looking, though contrasting The Heights greatly. Overall, this is a fabulous movie! I’ve seen it many, many, many times already! 🙂

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