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Wuthering Heights


2011 | 129 min | BBFC: 15 | 1.37:1

Wuthering Heights

Rating


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7.4
/10
16
ratings.


User reviews


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Movie appeal

 
Drama100%
Romance31%
Period8%

7
fans

174
Blu-ray
collections
3
DVD
collections

Theatrical release date


 05 October, 2012
 11 November, 2011

Country of origin


 United Kingdom

Box office


 $100,915

Links


               

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Screenshots from Wuthering Heights Blu-ray

Wuthering Heights Preview  

8
 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, October 4, 2012

Emily Bronte’s celebrated 1847 novel has been adapted time and again by world cinema, with each production embracing the squeeze of unrequited love and the abundant atmospheric trimmings of the original work. It’s a timeless tale of obsession, yet this latest take on the material takes matters into a harsher direction of internalized agony and violent communication. It’s a lengthy picture with ambiance to spare, but it’s something to be seen, offering a rejuvenated approach to the story that dazzles with grit and grief, captured with an authentically terrifying atmospheric approach that beautifully supports the discomfort and anguish flowing through the veins of the performances. This “Wuthering Heights” is not something to be passively accepted, but deeply felt, down to the bone.



Picked up on the streets of Liverpool and brought to the far reaches of Scotland for care, young Heathcliff (Solomon Glave as a boy, James Howson as an adult) has found himself with a family to fear, exposed to hard labor and a harsh, wind-blasted landscape. Bonding with young Catherine (Shannon Beer and Kaya Scodelario), Heathcliff discovers a friend and a potential love, with the two growing closer as the months pass, creating an inseparable union that’s impossible for the pair to articulate, leaving passions muted. As time passes and Heathcliff grows more impatient with his treatment at the hands of his protectors, he watches Catherine slip through his fingers, silently abandoning his object of desire when she marries another man. After an extended period of separation, Heathcliff and Catherine reunite as adults, though their past has left an indelible mark on the both of them, leading to destructive impulses, including the corruption of Isabella (Nichola Burley), Catherine’s confidant.

The director is Andrea Arnold, who made a name for herself with “Fish Tank,” a 2009 production that helped to introduce Michael Fassbender to the world while establishing the helmer as a creative type devoted to the art of emotional realism. This consideration has been injected into the new “Wuthering Heights,” with Arnold and co-writer Olivia Hetreed stripping away melodrama to play the picture as an extended sucker punch to the gut, with lead-lined feelings carried by troubled characters, set loose on muddy, howling location that’s as beautiful as it is harrowing. The romantic tingles of new love and the broad strokes of tragedy have been plucked out of the material, replaced with an aloofness that’s invigorating, renewing central conflicts that have been repeatedly stamped on celluloid for the last century.



Filmmaking language takes center stage in “Wuthering Heights,” observing Arnold employ symbolism and silent contemplation when detailing the inner life of the characters. Instead of forcing issues of attraction to mirror Bronte’s winding manner of storytelling, the director keeps interactions organic, with mud-splattered acts of everlasting love taking time to seep into the system, allowing the picture a sense of space and, in some cases, surprise, especially as Heathcliff and Catherine spend time with each other beyond the confines of their shared home, experiencing flirtations and suspicions in the great outdoors -- their private kingdom and the only source of adventure to keep their minds off the drudgery of farm life. The performances are spare but stunningly accurate in Arnold’s control, communicating a juvenile attraction that blossoms into something profound along the way, tested repeatedly with two teenagers who are completely incapable of implementing their true feelings.



Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights” is a sensorial experience, with documentary-style cinematography emphasizing the immediacy of the moment, while the sound design preserves the tempestuous weather of the land. Violence is also constant, from the emotional kind that cripples Heathcliff in the second half, to more visceral sequences of animal slaughter (fair warning for those sensitive to such matters). There’s not a single rosy moment or loving embrace in the entire picture, creating an ambiance of dread and death that’s fascinating to see unfold, even in an absurdly overlong feature as this. However, it’s difficult to fault Arnold for her habitual need to linger. With such spellbinding landscapes to photograph and a story in need of a fresh approach, her blistering version of “Wuthering Heights” earns its right to stay past its welcome.

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, James Howson, Oliver Milburn, Nichola Burley, Amy Wren, James Northcote
Director: Andrea Arnold

» See full cast & crew




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