Posts Tagged ‘Wuthering Heights’

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: ☆☆☆☆☆

I indulge myself in dramatic, gothic-novels. Often they are a bit oddball and silly, but this is a remarkable piece. This is where the whole party started; if gothic romance has footsteps, they’d lead you back here.

Now why did my high school teacher assigned us to read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre when her sister has written this masterpiece? I wish I read this book sooner! Wuthering Heights is way better and way more interesting. If I didn’t know they were sisters, I would have never guessed by simply reading their novels. They have quite different writing styles and themes. What glorious of a writer Emily Brontë was! Her use of atmosphere, natural settings, and mood of people is so poetic, unique, and powerful. I never felt such sadness that the author had only written one book! Unlike her sister Charlotte who created a likeable strong character in Jane Eyre, Emily had no fear to create in Wuthering Heights a cast of characters that are almost impossible to like. This book proves you can like a book without liking any of its characters.  

Emily’s characters are darkly wild people, with twisted desires and savage minds, living in the middle of nowhere on the haunting moors with miserable weather. They are some of the most strongly-drawn characters in literature and the level of passionate intensity in them, I think, has not yet been equaled. I love the way the story was told. I felt like I was Mr. Lockwood wrapped in a blanket with the moors in view and the howling winds at the window with Nelly keeping me company by telling me this sickly fascinating story. From the very first, to the very last page, you’re enshrouded in the turmoil of their wretched lives: seduction, revenge, missing person, people dropping like flies, murdered puppies, digging up old lover’s grave, kidnap, moors, roars…it makes you wonder what crazy shit had Brontë been smoking? And goddamn do I love it. But read Wuthering Heights slowly, read it at night, and be prepared to enter a world more vivid, more intense than any other put into writing.

I’m not sure how I got this idea, but I always thought Wuthering Heights is an angel-playing-harp love story. The book cover is adorned with two people embracing Gone with the Wind-style on the windy moors. But Catherine and Heathcliff’s love story is not a happy one. Such that, some people won’t connect them to “romance”, though it is practically seeped into every page of this book. It’s not in the way romanticism is viewed generally. It’s a truthful story of power, wealth, corrupted passion, and romantic souls. The story masks the author’s intense feelings and unorthodox attitudes towards the sophisticated Victorian society.

Heathcliff is, frankly, a crook of the worst sort but he is sometimes romanticized as a victim. I cannot outline here all of the evil things he did over the course of the story without giving too much away. He’s an asshole, a stalker, and a sociopath–and he knows it! As he says of Isabella, the girl he marries and beats up:

“She abandoned them under a delusion…picturing in me a hero of romance, and expecting unlimited indulgences from my chivalrous devotion. I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature, so obstinately has she persisted in forming a fabulous notion of my character, and acting on the false impression she has cherished.”

Hear that, Heathcliff fangirls? Even he thinks you’re all morons for liking him. Now, I can’t say I hate him because part of me do sympathize with his adversity and can understand why he is so obsessed and why his obsession led to a hardness and a madness of mind and morals. Heck, I even shed a tear after Catherine died just because Heathcliff wished himself to be haunted by her.

“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!… I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”

That is love, my dears. But do I need that kind of passion? Hell no. Imagine your parents’ reactions when you bring home a Heathcliff or a Mr. Rochester? Seriously, the Bronte sisters have bad taste in men! Catherine, the one that Heathcliff lives and dies for, ruins everyone’s lives for, she doesn’t get my sympathy. She’s a spoiled, selfish, and an unfeeling bitch every moment she was present in the story. She is in deep love with the poor boy Heathcliff, but she flirts with a wealthy boy Edgar, whose social status satisfies her unexpressed need for external acceptance. She wants her cake and eats it too!

Hate them? Understandable, I suppose. I came to the conclusion that you really weren’t intended to like either Catherine or Heathcliff because I feel their story is not the love story we are supposed to champion and idolize. Even if they would end up together they would tear each other apart anyway. But at the end there is a sliver of hope, a touch of something pure, a love which is unsoiled. And this, I believe, is the true romance of the book. Cathy Jr and Hareton’s relationship (second generation) is the one we should all applaud and secretly yearn for as they endured and persevered where Catherine and Heathcliff crumbled.

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