Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold, 2011)

Posted 23rd January 2012 on Verve Media.

wuthering-heightsThere is no peace for the Brontë sisters this year. Just a few months ago the cause of our sighs was Jane Eyre, and now it’s the turn of Heathcliff and Cathy.

Wuthering Heights is different from every period drama you have ever seen: there is no music, no frills, no curtsies. Actually, there isn’t much other than the moor, the grey skies and the silent, angsty protagonists.

Heathcliff, the foundling that is rescued in Liverpool and reluctantly adopted by a family of Yorkshire farmers, has been brought back to his literary origins by director Andrea Arnold. He is a gypsy in the book, and possibly a rescued slave in the film. It is nice to see a version of Wuthering Heights with a Heathcliff that has not been whitewashed.

Most of the film stands on the incredible performances of first-time actors Shannon Beer and Solomon Glave, who are significantly better than their grown-up versions – and will Kaya Scodelario ever stop grinning malevolently at the camera?

Wuthering Heights is a punch in the teeth for anyone who thought that costume films were all flamboyant Jane Austen adaptations; it is bare, raw, atmospheric, and probably the best period piece that has been produced in a while.

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