Wuthering Heights

Director Andrea Arnold‘s (Fish Tank) Wuthering Heights adaptation positions its focus on the raw emotional core of Emily Brontë’s characters. Don’t expect to find any 19th century cinematic cliches in this one. A somewhat lengthy synopsis as follows (via TIFF):

“No starched lace, no panoramic views, no sweeping score — Andrea Arnold takes Emily Brontë’s classic novel and strips it to the root of youthful passion, restoring its stark power for a contemporary audience. Following her bracing portraits of female desire in Red Road and Fish Tank, Arnold pushes even further here, portraying love as a rush of heart-stopping beauty, cruelty and impulsive acts.

In a remote farmhouse on Yorkshire’s nineteenth-century moors, Mr. Earnshaw brings home a wary biracial boy, whom he names Heathcliff. Adopted into the family under Christian values, Heathcliff’s new presence is met with mixed feelings. Hindley, Earnshaw’s teenaged son, treats him with contempt, while Catherine, Hindley’s younger sister, embraces the outsider with curious warmth. An intense relationship begins to form between Heathcliff and Catherine as they play on the moor. Their pleasant days are brought to an abrupt end, however, with Mr. Earnshaw’s death. Hindley takes control of the farm and drives Heathcliff away. Edgar, the son of a wealthy neighbouring family, courts Catherine in marriage. Torn between love and reason, Catherine’s decision sets the three of them on a tragic course.

Avoiding the typical pleasantries of period romance, Arnold’s Wuthering Heights uses natural sounds in place of a score, emphasizing the rhythms of wind, voices and silence. Arnold places Catherine and Heathcliff within a specific and sometimes harsh environment; the effect is to bring Brontë’s characters closer to nature. Handheld camera work captures every look and touch exchanged between the passionate young lovers, swaying and darting into the wet black mud one minute, carried aloft with a bird the next.

Arnold’s two previous features established her as a remarkable new voice in cinema, a filmmaker unwilling to lean on clichés about love, insisting instead on a brutal version of truth. By cutting Brontë’s novel back to its essence of longing and injustice, she revives the story for a contemporary audience.”

A teaser trailer embedded down below for your viewing pleasure:

Wuthering Heights