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EMILY BRONTE'S WUTHERING HEIGHTS 1992

Cathy Earnshaw is Heathcliff's foster sister; more than that, she is his other half. When forces within and without tear them apart, Heathcliff wreaks vengeance on those he holds responsible, even into a second generation.

Starring:
Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes
Runtime:
1 hour, 46 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Action & Adventure, Romance
Director Peter Kosminsky
Starring Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes
Studio Paramount
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Dec. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I have never seen a period piece that I did not like. I now have. This film was surprisingly bad. In fact, on top of being disappointed, I was shocked by how bad it was. It is hard to believe that such a great, gothic story of star cross lovers, Cathy and Heathcliff, and their doomed families, the Earnshaws and the Lintons, has come to this, a travesty of a film. It conveys all of the abject misery contained in the novel, but none of its saving graces.
While this is a film that attempts to tell the entire story, chapter and verse, unlike its 1939 predecessor with Laurence Olivier, it still fails. The main problem is the miscasting of Juliette Binoche. While Ms. Binoche is, undoubtedly, lovely looking and a fine actress, her portrayal of an English girl, Cathy Earnshaw, falls flat. She is unable to fashion a credible English accent. Her underlying French accent is very distracting. Moreover, cast in the dual role of her daughter, Catherine Linton, with the same jarring accent, she is maddening. One never forgets that she is Juliette Binoche. She also, unfortunately, plays both roles in the same fashion. There is no attempt at any characterization or differentiation between the two other than a blowsy, blonde wig. Like mother, like daughter, I suppose. The roles were a definite overreach for Ms. Binoche.
Ralph Fiennes, on the other hand, is well suited to the role of Heathcliff, whom he plays with the intensity demanded of the character. Yet, he, an accomplished actor and worthy of the part, falls short of the mark. While there were glimmers of humanity and a certain poignancy to some of his babarous actions, it was not consistent enough to make the character come across as anything more than a cruelly depraved, miserable slob, rather than an anguished and passionate human being.
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Comment 11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
There is much to admire about this version of Emily Bronte's classic story. The settings are great, the two houses which form the backdrop to the story are perfect locations and the performances are at least good, if not stunning at times from the excellent Fiennes. I'd agree with those who say that whilst physically Juliette Binoche looks every inch Cathy, her French accent detracts slightly from the character.

However, I'd argue that this film is flawed as are so many adaptations of these classic romantic novels from the fact that too much is crammed in to the two or so hours of the film. These stories are simply too long to do justice to in the constraints of a film. For this reason, some of the best adaptations such as the 1939 Olivier/Oberon version do not try to tel the whole story but simply concentrate upon the relationship between Heathcliffe and Cathy at the expense of the relationships of their respective offspring. Versions which do tell the whole story tend to be the most effective when they are mini-series of three or four hours in total.

As a result, many of the key elements of the story such as Mr Earnshaw's kind treatment and Hareton's cruel treatment of Heathcliffe both as a child and as an adult are never fully shown in this version. Hareton's descent into gambling and alcoholism are both essential in explaining why he is able to slip into despair and allow Heathcliffe a way back to prominence. There is too little of the cantankerous Joseph or of Cathy's happiness at Thrushcross Grange following her accident and of Heathcliffe's despair when she doesn't come home immediately.

Nevertheless, the great cinematography, wonderful musical score and costume are all worth a look. Not the best version, but this film is a great addition to the Wuthering Heights legacy.
Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Many reviews of Peter Kosminsky's Wuthering Heights (1992) seem to work from the premise that it "should" represent the novel in an absolutely faithful manner. However, who is to say that it was Kosminsky's aim to give as faithful a portrait as possible? Isn't it just as likely to assume that he wanted to adapt it into a compelling film which, although clearly based on Emily Bront's novel of 1847, can nevertheless stand alone as work of art of its own? It can be productive to look at what was changed in the process of adaptation for the screen and to speculate why, yet Kosminsky is under no obligation to please the purists: in fact, given the nature of the thing, that would probably be an impossible task.

The film was critically panned upon its release - The Guardian mocked it as "an abject disaster" - and the French actress Juliette Binoche was seen as a controversial, risible choice to play a much-loved heroine of English fiction. I vividly recall my English teacher at secondary school lampooning her performance: "Oh, Nelly, je suis Heathcliff!". One only needs to take a look at Franco Zeffirelli's Jane Eyre (1995), however, to see how an international cast can triumphantly portray English figures. I find her accent passable (although without a Yorkshire tilt); I do have other reservations about her portrayal of Cathy Earnshaw, though. In the novel she is a "wild, wicked slip of a lass" - volatile, headstrong, mercurial, selfish, stubborn, and by no means the rather one-sided giggly, vivaciously capricious creature that Binoche portrays her as (how much Kosminsky himself wanted Cathy to be portrayed as such, we can only wonder).
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