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Review – Emily Brontë’s Wuthering heights

Emily Brontë's Wuthering heightsTitle: Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
Director: Peter Kosminsky
Actors: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Janet McTeer
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Year: 1992
Running time: 1h45m
Genre: drama
Rating: 4/5

Based on the novel with the same name, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is one of the few cinematographic transpositions that traces its entire story.
In effect, the plot of this book can be divided into two parts: the first and the second generation – so called because the second one sees the children of the protagonists of the first one on stage.

Emily Brontë's Wuthering heightsContrary to what one might think, this film does not stage a beautiful love story, but one of obsession and revenge.

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights: the plot

Found by Mr Earnshaw (John Woodvine) wandering in the streets of Liverpool, the young Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes) spend a carefree childhood with Catherine (Juliette Binoche), the daughter of his saviour.
Once grown, the two realize that the feeling that binds them is more than friendship but they are brutally separated first by the death of her father and then by an accident involving the girl. Because of a fall near Thrushcross Grange, in fact, the girl is hosted by the Linton family. There she sees a different lifestyle and where the young Edgar (Simon Sheperd) falls in love with her.

Back home, at Wuthering Heights, the changes in the girl’s character are obvious to the point that, despite declaring to her faithful Nelly (Janet McTeer) to be deeply in love with Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes), she decides to marry Edgar (Simon Sheperd) thanks to his riches.
At this point, Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes) decides to leave and he returns only when he can make his revenge against Catherine (Juliette Binoche) and all those who were interposed between them.



Characters

 

Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes) is a complicated character who from a young orphan becomes a heartless monster, blinded by obsession and resentment. Everything suggests his actions are nothing more than the result of the way in which he was treated by the society because of his diversity.
Catherine (Juliette Binoche), instead, from the beginning she looks like a carefree girl and acquires the spectators’ sympathy, then changes into a spoiled and superficial woman that triggers the worst in Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes). Possessed by the same obsession of her childhood friend, she would have much preferred to know him dead rather than tied to another, even when she herself had ties elsewhere. Her neuroses describe best the dependency relationship she has towards Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes) but they make her a hateful character because she is not able to accept the consequences of her actions.

Dialogues

Emily Brontë's Wuthering heightsThe dialogues between the characters work, the only thing I did not like was that Juliette Binoche plays two characters. On one hand, I think the movie wanted a sort of continuity between the first and the second part of the story. On the other, it’s one thing that annoys me a little.
Worthy of note is the interpretation of Janet McTeer in the role of Nelly.

Final thoughts

The setting is the mid-1800s and the way it is rendered in the film is really suited to the gloomy spirit of the novel. Due to its age, the movie appears a bit ‘grainy. But rather than being considered a defect, this gives to the film an even more vintage effect.
The special effects used are not many but they are really excellent to describe the sky and the weather of those places. As for the soundtrack, it is rather trivial and repetitive.

The complexity of the plot of the novel could be a major obstacle to the success of this movie but the set design and the editing have managed to bring it justice even if the pace meets moments of slowdown.
To see if you are a fan or if you are too lazy to face the book.



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