Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wuthering Heights (2009)

Director: Coky Giedroyc. Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Andrew Lincoln. 142 min. UK. Drama/Romance.

Embarrassingly, this was my first exposure to one of the greatest novels of all time. And the result was recommendable - uncertain whether because this revenge story of forbidden love was so captivating (Emily Bronte, writing it before her death at 30, must've been quite a male-female relations psychologist), or because watching one of the best new actors of our time in the ambivalently attractive role of Heathcliff was so refreshing. Either way, if you haven't read the novel, it's a good place to start getting accustomed. If you have, still watch it, as the ending's small change seems more logical.

PS: Thanks again, Maryam, for another entry into the romance genre.

Mo says:


  1. Anytime Mentor Mo! I was worried that you might feel that your time was wasted. I'll come back for analysis quite soon! your comment made my day;))

    1. Thanks! Can't wait to read your opinion.


  2. Actually, I read the novel more than once and found it attractive, pure and most importantly unconventional. Unconventional because it challenged some moral concepts , religious beliefs and facts about social class of that time ..19th century. I was always thinking about the writer , E. Bronte who wrote this brilliant and only novel in her short life and died one year after it was finished because of TB at the age of 30. I was amazed by her personality, her thought, her life and her religious background that all manifest beautifully in her writing .Like other circumstances in cinema , in spite of having various versions , I believe the novel is much more strong, absorbing and more complex .The characters in book are very attractive but complicated , That's why portraying such complexity on the silver screen is quite tough.The interesting point is among versions that I've seen including classic version of 1939 (which is the favorite of the critics with rank of 100% with performance of sir Laurence Olivier,) , version with performance of Ralph Finnes and Juliette Binoche that not get much attention by critics , and TV series 2009 that we just watched.In all of them,filmmakers just pick up some moments ,aspect of characters, pieces of plot but not all of them.Even in this version (2009) with spending more than 3 hours , again some parts of the book were missed or unnecessary have been changed !Another comparison between book and movie is about characters. None of them were successful in portraying some characters like Catherine Ernshaw or Nelly Dean as much as they should be . In the book Catherine is a wild, brave and attractive one . She's grown up in the nature along with Heat cliff.She was not very nice or a pleasant Miss like Merle Oberon in 1939 ! She is quite naughty and challenging ..... she is totally like Heat Cliff , that's why they get close to each other.
    As she said in famous quote of the book and all versions in movies ".... he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire. "
    but what happened to her that suddenly switched to a wealthy, high class man is just because of tempting appearance of this kind of luxury life or simply because of a rejection of nature and a surrender to culture ....or because she was unsure whether she is or wants to become ?or maybe the only way in that time that she could gain prestige,fame and financial security...or as a feminist approach maybe because the women at that time had no choice but this one !

  3. Another point is about character of Heat Cliff....he is pretty much complicated person .On the one hand he is a romantic hero but on the other hand he is quite a villain indeed! He is a wild man with a long history of humiliation by people around from childhood to adulthood, full of complex of being down and degraded.I read in the wikipedia this type of characters in literature or movies called Byronic hero ! It was describing as "a man proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection"That man of loneliness and mystery,Scarce seen to smile, and seldom heard to sigh".And interesting that the characters that both sister created are the same ,more or less ! Heath Cliff from Wutheing Heights , Rochester from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. (also another example of this character is Erik, the Phantom from Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera ). He is taking revenge from those who humiliated him badly !Even from Catherine !whom he loved the most ! One of the beautiful moment in the book and in the movie is the moment that he overheard of private conversation of Catherine with Nelly in the kitchen that "she said : it would 'degrade' her to marry him" and he left the house immediately without trace and dissapeared for 3 years and came back as a wealthy gentleman to take an old revenge from the family who degraded him from the beginning. The type of revenge he takes from epecially Hindly who always did bad to him , was one of the worse revenge I'v ever read . It was shown in version 2009 to some extend. I think Tom Hardy is considered one of the best Heat Cliff ever because he could picture a complicated and villain-type of this romantic hero in movie .
    And the final scene in here is different from book. Obviously, Heatcliff committed suicide but in book he ended his life by starving and having nothing for 4 days after he was living with Catherine's ghost and obviously became crazy at the end. It was said at the end of the book and (version 1992) that they became a myth for neighborhood and people often saw 2 ghost are wondering in the area as a HeatCliff and Catherine.
    It is what it is

    1. Thank you very much for the comprehensive analysis of both the novel and the film(s). I'll write a few points that came to mind reading your notes, but take into account again that I'm very unfamiliar with the source material, since I haven't read the book, and this is solely based on what I saw in the 2009 film.

      1. I felt many social and psychological aspects of human relations were "rushed" in the movie. There were numerous moments during the 2 and 1/2 hour film that I wanted to know more about the inner thoughts of the characters, but there was no time and they rapidly moved to the next chapter of the story. Probably a 5-6 hour long version would have been better.

      2. It looks as if Emily Bronte was very much against religion. The church and the priest are all "bad guys" in the story.

      3. Tom Hardy very well-managed to portray himself as "the monster" they kept calling him. And the weird thing is, ... I felt empathy for him. I felt Heathcliff had the right to be very angry, and he had the right to have his revenge. And yes, based on the story I see in the film, I believe Catherine was the one who created this monster. I'll explain more in the next item.

      4. I have a theory about "falling in love" for marriage. Should you fall in love before you marry? My answer is: it depends if you're a man or a woman. If you're a man, yes, you're 'allowed' to fall in love, because as long as you have one or more of the basics (good looks, intelligence, money, reputation), you'll be okay. You can fall in love and marry.

      But if you're a woman, you don't have the 'luxury' to fall in love. Even though we've always heard this cliche about women being emotional and men being logical, when it comes to marriage, I think it's exactly the opposite: women must act extremely calculated when they choose whom they marry. They must decide: Is this man able to provide for me for the rest of my life? They don't have any room for getting emotional or falling in love. They must think practical and pragmatic - as opposed to men, who can completely afford to act based on emotions, and marry based on emotions. If the marriage fails, men have a much easier time finding another mate than women do. That makes marriage a much more sensitive decision for women compared to men.

      This is EXACTLY what Emily Bronte is showing in "Wuthering Heights". Heathcliff is like an untamed animal who falls in love with Catherine. Catherine is also in love with Heathcliff, but when it comes to marriage, she's very logical and practical: she marries Linton, who has money and reputation. This brings the beast out of Heathcliff, and he goes down the revenge path, even though till the very last moment of his life, he loves Catherine.