Sunday, May 26, 2013

Son of Saturday at the Movies #4 - Wuthering Heights (2009)

There are some movies that, within minutes, even seconds, of viewing, you know they're going to stick with you forever. For me, the 2009 BBC/PBS version is one of those. The story's not new. Emily Bronte wrote it back in the nineteenth century, and it's a classic for a reason. Not a genre romance, and no happy ending for the first generation, but it's always been one of those stories that sticks with me and resonates in that deep-down part of the story soul.

Even hours after watching, I'm left thinking lots of things about poor...well, pretty much everybody. Heathcliff and Cathy, tormented soulmates who never get to be together (or do, in the end, depending on your point of view) and the poison that trickles down from their...is "thwartedness" a word? Then again, neither Heathcliff nor Cathy get a gold star for making good decisions, but that sense of passions repressed that explode in all the wrong places, sending out cracks that erode the foundation of basically everyone around them. :Happy sigh: It's a big story, a deep story, definitely not a feel-good one, but it resonates. Did I already say resonate? I did. :shrug: It's an appropriate word.

Tom Hardy's Heathcliff always seems about a milimieter away from cracking, and seeing as how he A) digs up his dead lover's body so he can hold her one more time - sure, creepy, but also shows how very broken inside he is, with no hope of anything outside of this broken bond- and B) systematically sets out to ruin the next generation because he can't see anything but ruin, one could say that he has cracked. Still, there's the sense that there's always something more, right out of reach.

Charlotte Riley's Cathy fits with the isolation of her character and surroundings, utterly changed by those five weeks spent in the luxury of the Lintons' care rather than the raw, rough existence she'd known with Heathcliff until then. I had no idea Andrew Lincoln was in this until I saw his name in the opening credits, and as both young and middle aged Edgar, he provides a beautifully balanced foil. Cultured where Heathcliff is primitive, and thus Cathy is torn between the two parts of her own nature, which will eventually tear her, and those around her, apart. There's a more hopeful turn for the next generation, and the film ends on that note of optimism, leaving the ghosts of Heathcliff and Cathy in the place where they've always wanted to be.

The story is a classic for a reason, and it's one of those that I actually want to see interpreted throught the eyes of different directors, different actors. Still not sure how I managed to miss the latest theatrical version, but it sure does look intriguing. What's your favorite adaptation of Wuthering Heights?

2 comments:

Lynn Viehl said...

This particular production of Wuthering Heights was the very first time I'd ever watched the movie. I thought Tom Hardy was superb (but I've yet to see him in anything he wasn't, so I admit to being a bit biased.)

I felt the most for Edgar, and while I don't know the actor I thought he did a marvelous job -- very believable in both stages of life.

The story unfortunately didn't resonate with me, but I probably heard too much about it in high school, which is why I've avoided it all these years. There are some interesting parallels in the plot structure of this story and her sister's novel Jane Eyre, but not enough to redeem it.

Now I just have to read the book itself and then I can hang up my dodging of Wuthering Heights forever. :)

Anna Bowling said...

Lynn, Andrew Lincoln is amazing in everything I've seen him in, and he has fabulous range. He plays a man in love with his best friend's new bride in Love Actually, and he's currently portarying American sheriff Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.