Emily Bronte’s classic literary novel, “Wuthering Heights” undergoes another adaptation with British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, who strips down the beautifully tortured love story in an attempt for realism and reduces it to nothing more than scenery and the minutiae of the everyday.
“Wuthering Heights” tells the story of Heathcliff, (Solomon Glave), an orphan boy who is taken in by Mr. Earnshaw (Paul Hilton) and brought to his Yorkshire farm where he develops an intense and meaningful relationship with his daughter, Catherine (Shannon Beer).
Director Andrea Arnold makes some brave choices but “Heights” is bogged down by the setting, needlessly and repetitively meandering on shots of moths, it leaves behind the passion and obsession that drives the book. The characters and plot are all but forgotten with stylistic choices overriding the two hours and eight minutes of the film’s running time. There is an inherent need for realism and authenticity with minimal dialogue, no musical score and handheld camerawork (which was distracting rather than giving a sense of presence as intended) but none of them enhanced the story, instead it diminished it, and did little to capture any of the agony or romance of the novel.
I have yet to find an adaptation of “Wuthering Heights” that resonates with the emotional brevity of the book. I guess I’ll just keep waiting. (Maybe Baz Luhrman will attempt it in a decade or so)