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December 2009

Wuthering Heights

cast: Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Lancashire, and Burn Gorman

director: Coky Giedroyc

142 minutes (PG) 2009
ITV Global DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
review by Sandra Scholes

Wuthering Heights

This is an adaptation of the classic by Northern writer Emily Bronte, and it portrays in real detail the torment of Heathcliffe (Tom Hardy) who loved Cathy's mother (Rebecca Night), before she was to be married to another man. This film takes the old story to a whole new level as he tries to lure young daughter Cathy (Charlotte Riley) to Wuthering Heights, a huge looming mansion with the promise she shall see her ill cousin again after her father forbade her. Unfortunately for Cathy, she is caught up in a trap where Heathcliffe intends to have her and her cousin wed against her will.

The torment he feels runs deep and even more so in a scene where he exhumes the mother's body and weeps over her corpse, seeing her as though she is flesh and just sleeping rather than the truth; she is now bones. So there are some serious concerns in the story of his fragile mental state.

The daughter is still held a prisoner by him and does not know why but the reason comes very soon when the past is revealed and Heathcliffe is taken into a new house as an orphan by their father's kindness, and Hindley (Burn Gorman) and Cathy act as brother and sister to him. Hindley, though does not take to a newcomer in the house and another who will vie for the affections of Cathy, so not giving him a chance to be a part of the family he instantly begins to hate him, tormenting him, beating him and even encouraging others to do so too in the playground of their school.

The beatings are carried on for many years until he gets much older and Hindley's hatred toward Heathcliffe comes to a head when he sends Cathy away on a respite and forbids him to visit her. It does not stop him though, but when he does and sees her chatting with another man, the surge of jealousy rushes over him.

Heathcliffe's life is clouded by his being an orphan and is constantly reminded by others of his gypsy heritage, the fact he has no father and is an un-baptised child who in those days would make others think he is in risk of his soul going to hell. His stepfather knows what nonsense this is and instead tries his best to make the boy a part of his family, showing him right from wrong in a way none of the others did.

His way of getting his revenge on Hindley is to ensnare the young Cathy under false pretences and bring her to his house, trap her and marry her to Linton, his son, who he thinks would be perfect for her as she will hardly know him long before he dies; thus avenging the loss of Cathy, the one he always loved who was taken away from him too soon after dying during the birth of her daughter Cathy; the one he views with utter contempt. It is as if he is blaming her for her death.

For its time the story is one that states adopting children is a rather bad thing, that inviting a child classed as unknown into the family can totally disrupt the rest of the family, especially if that child is not born of the same class as the ones he lives with. It also reflects on how love between two people can't be changed by others trying to intervene and prevent the love blossoming.

Wuthering Heights is a more gothic retelling of the movie and unlike the rest serves to not portray Heathcliffe as anything other than a dangerous manipulator of others who has serious mental issues to deal with partly due to his awful past. It can be said that some of what happened to him is not his own fault and if he had been treat better in the family, he may have not done what he did later on, though it could be debated.



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