Wuthering Heights

Watch Wuthering Heights

"Love is a force of nature"
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 2 hr 9 min
  • 6.0  (10,930)
  • 70

In 2011, director Andrea Arnold brought an updated adaptation of Emily Bronte's timeless classic Wuthering Heights to the big screen. This film was a refreshing take on the classic tale. Wuthering Heights tells the story of two young lovers, Heathcliff and Cathy, who end up separated by their social status and prejudices of the era. In Arnold's adaptation, we see Heathcliff (played by James Howson) as a black boy from Liverpool's inner city adopted into a rural family in Yorkshire. The contrast between Heathcliff and Cathy's (played by Kaya Scodelario) wealthy and privileged upbringing is stark, and the film uses this difference as an allegorical critique of the class system.

The film starts with Heathcliff arriving at the Earnshaw's house, where he is taken in by Mrs. Earnshaw (played by Nichola Burley) as a foster son. He forms a strong bond with Cathy, her daughter, and the two quickly become inseparable, even though the rest of the family doesn't approve of the relationship.

This adaptation truly captures the wild, untamed beauty of the English moors. The acting is raw and powerful, with the chemistry between Howson and Scodelario making the love story all the more captivating. They are both fully committed to their roles, conveying the passion and intensity of their characters with incredible skill.

Director Andrea Arnold has a unique style that involves a lot of handheld camera work and an absence of traditional film scoring. Instead, Arnold's signature soundscape builds upon natural sounds, allowing the viewer to experience the raw energy of the moors in a more immersive way. Her fresh and uncompromising approach to the material is refreshing and breathtaking, making this film one of the most memorable adaptations of Wuthering Heights in recent years.

One of the most interesting choices that Arnold made in this adaptation was to include the young Heathcliff's backstory. This expands upon Bronte's original novel and shows us a glimpse of Heathcliff's harrowing upbringing in Liverpool, where he faced constant racial prejudice and abuse. It highlights the social inequalities of the time and provides more nuance to the character of Heathcliff.

The other significant addition to the story is a focus on Cathy's relationship with her maidservant Ellen Dean (played by Simone Jackson). The depiction of the dynamic between Ellen and the Earnshaws is another way that the film elaborates on the class divide. We see Cathy and Ellen's love for one another, even as they are locked into a societal structure that makes them bitter enemies.

The film's pacing ebbs and flows, and may feel slow to some viewers. The lack of a traditional score, which is a stylistic choice, can also feel eerie or disjointed to those expecting a more conventional soundtrack. However, I believe this is one of the film's strengths, as it adds to the atmosphere, making the drama more intense and emotional.

Overall, Arnold's adaptation of Wuthering Heights is a captivating piece of cinema. It is faithful to Bronte's story, while also adding a new dimension to the characters and themes. The performances are phenomenal, and the unique style of direction sets this adaptation apart from any other. It's a must-watch for anyone who loves Emily Bronte's story or is drawn to films with nuanced themes of class and racial inequality.

Wuthering Heights is a 2012 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 9 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0 and a MetaScore of 70.

Wuthering Heights
Where to Watch Wuthering Heights
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 9 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (10,930)
  • Metascore