Love is a Force of Nature
Running Time: 129 minutes
US Certificate: Not Yet Rated UK Certificate: 15
Country: United Kingdom
A homeless young boy of ‘gypsy’ origin (Glave and Howson) is taken in by a farmer and his family in Northern England and is converted to Christianity, named Heathcliff and made to work hard. He’s tolerated by the mother and father and hated by his adopted brother but he forms an intense relationship with his adopted sister, Cathy (Beer and Scodelario). When Heathcliffe and Cathy move apart, he leaves the farm in the middle of the night only to return years later as an apparently rich and forceful young man ready to change things.
Wuthering Heights Part One, as it should be known, deals unsuprisingly with the first part of the novel and Andrea Arnold does so with admirable intensity, atmosphere and thoroughness (it still stretches over two hours). But in doing so she misses out argubly the best part of the book where it becomes less of a mere love-square and goes much further and darker and even includes ghosts. The acting also left a lot to be desired as it came across more of an amateur theatre production than a piece of work you can take seriously. Plus on a personal note, the Yorkshire accents put on made me cringe and grated on the ears. It sounded more like a incestual social club in a rough area of Leeds than a classic novel adapted for the big screen. I know the characters aren’t landed gentry but I think they went a little too far.
The bleak landscapes of Yorkshire are used excellently to capture the depressing realities of life on the farm and how Cathy is the only ray of light in Heathcliff’s miserable life. A jolt from the blue that, when distinguished, forces a massive change in the child.
It's Got: Well used bleak landscapes, intrigue and a relatively engaging plot
It Needs: Better acting, more from the rest of the novel
Alternatives:I Am Love, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights (1992)
Not the best adaptation of a Bronte novel from Andrea Arnold. Bleak in a lot of ways.