Wuthering Heights (2011) - Movie Review for Parents and Teachers | Student Handouts
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Wuthering Heights (2011)
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Wuthering Heights (2011) Review and Guide for Teachers and Parents Length: 129 minutes (2 hours, 9 minutes)

Age appropriateness: Wuthering Heights is not officially rated in the United States. It contains profanity ("c*nt" and "f*ck") and male nudity (particularly the washing of the corpse of Catherine Earnshaw's father). There is likewise plenty of violence, including the beating of Heathcliff, and the rather graphic killing of animals for food on the farm. Most parents should not have a problem letting high schoolers watch this movie (though both parents and teens should be prepared to cringe a few times). However, without some careful editing beforehand, it might be difficult for a high school teacher to show this movie in class; teachers should preview the film and use their best judgment.

Creators and stars: Ecosse Films, Adam Kulick, Adam Lock, Amy Wren, Andrea Arnold, Douglas Rae, Dan Gill, Emily Brontë, Emma Ropner, Emma Scott, Eve Alice Coverley Ainscough, Helen Scott, Hugo Heppell, James Howson, James Northcote, Jamie D. Allen, Jonny (Jonathan) Powell, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin Loader, Lee Shaw, Louise Seymour, Michael Hughes, Nichola Burley, Nicholas Becker, Nicolas Chaudeurge, Oliver Milburn, Olivia Hetreed, Paul Hilton, Paul Murphy, Rashad Omar, Richard Guy, Robbie Ryan, Robert Bernstein, Shannon Beer, Simone Jackson, Solomon Glave, Steve Evets, Steven Noble, Tessa Ross

Accuracy: Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights is based on the 1847 Emily Brontë novel of the same name. This film adaptation omits the gothic elements of the novel, as well as the latter portion of the story which covers the revenge Heathcliff takes upon his perceived enemies. The focus here is on how the love between Catherine and Heathcliff came to be.
  Solomon Glave (young Heathcliff) and Shannon Beer (young Cathy) in Andrea Arnold's <i>Wuthering Heights</i> (2011).   Kaya Scodelario as Older Catherine Earnshaw   James Howson as Heathcliff   Andrea Arnold   Kaya Scodelario as older Cathy.  
  Solomon Glave (Young Heathcliff) and Shannon Beer (Young Cathy)   Kaya Scodelario as Catherine Earnshaw   James Howson as the Older Heathcliff   Andrea Arnold (Writer-Director)   Kaya Scodelario as the Older Cathy Earnshaw  
Review: Most cinematic adaptations of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights have focused on the characters as adults, most often depicting Catherine and Heathcliff as much older than they are in the book. In this film version by Andrea Arnold, half of the film is devoted to showing the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff as children. When viewed as "adults," these characters are played by age-appropriate actors to depict the couple as young adults in their late teens/early twenties.

Solomon Glave (young Heathcliff) and Shannon Beer (young Catherine) steal the film and give the best lead performances. For the first time on screen, viewers can see how and why Heathcliff fell so deeply in love with Cathy while simultaneously developing into such a cruel person.

This film's major flaw is in failing to tell the rest of the story. But, already at over two hours in length, this would have been difficult.

The cinematography is delightful to watch. Filmed on location in the Yorkshire Dales, readers of the Emily Brontë novel truly get the feeling that they are seeing the story's setting exactly as Brontë describes it. All the same, cutting down on superfluous scenery shots could have shaved at least ten minutes off of the film and helped with pacing.

Worth noting: Wuthering Heights features nearly no dialogue; Catherine and Heathcliff bond through shared experiences.

Heathcliff is played by black actors. This might seem strange to those who are familiar with other film versions. But in the novel, Heathcliff's ethnicity is vaguely understood, and he is described as, essentially, quite dark. As those familiar with British history know, it would not have been at all strange to have a child of African ancestry found in Liverpool in the 1800s. In short, based on the Brontë book, Solomon Glave and James Howson are more suited for the role of Heathcliff than, say, Sir Laurence Olivier.
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Wuthering Heights (2011) Movie Review Publication Date for Citation Purposes: September 26, 2012