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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated adaptation of Emily Brontė's literary classic
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...
Published on 20 Oct. 2007 by cathy earnshaw

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WITHERING HEIGHTS...
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...
Published on 15 Dec. 2002 by Lawyeraau


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WITHERING HEIGHTS..., 15 Dec. 2002
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wuthering Heights [VHS] (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. In fact, his performance fails to make the viewer think anything but "good riddance" at the end. This, however, is the failure of the director, Peter Kosminsky. What was he thinking?
It was, however, enjoyable to see Jeremy Northam in the small role of Hindsley Earnshaw. Now, he would make an intriguing Heathcliff. If one has seen Northam in "Voices From A Locked Room", one would know what I mean. He has definitely got what it takes.
If you do not love period pieces, deduct one start from my review. If you love period pieces, proceed at your own risk.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated adaptation of Emily Brontė's literary classic, 20 Oct. 2007
By 
This review is from: Wuthering Heights [DVD] [1992] (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 Brontė'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). It is difficult to give sufficient weight to her declaration of love for Healthcliff and that famous statement of joint identity, when Binoche has hitherto been bent on convincing us of Cathy's thoughtless indifference and flighty superficiality. It is perhaps a failure of the Casting Director to have Binoche play the younger Catherine, too. The viewer can scarcely tell them apart. In spite of the blonde curly wig, Binoche conveys insufficient difference in their temperaments.

Ralph Fiennes is well cast as Heathcliff and is brilliant at portraying his brutal passion and evil intentions. But perhaps he does over-compensate for Binoche's sanitising performance by playing him with such an unrelentingly violent temper. This could also be a fault of the screenplay, which rushes the childhood years; the viewer has little chance to build up a sense of sympathy for him. Moreover, both protagonists seem too old when they begin their portrayals of the adolescent youths (a criticism also frequently thrown at the more recent 1998 ITV adaptation of the tale); Fiennes was almost 30 and Binoche 28 when it was released and we are expected to believe that the characters are still in their late teens, scampering through the Heights and fooling about during Joseph's tutorials.

The supporting cast play their roles faultlessly; much of the strength of this film is down to them. Simon Shepherd excels as the squeamish, emotionally repressed Edgar Linton, Jeremy Northam as the tyrannical and dissipated Hindley, Janet McTeer as the servant Nelly, and Sophie Ward as the naive Isabella, who brims with romantic illusions and is perfect fodder for Heathcliff, hell-bent on revenge. Sinead O'Connor - who goes inexplicably uncredited - frames the film, appearing at the start and finish as Emily Brontė herself (who narrates the story here instead of Nelly and Lockwood).

For many, this version of Wuthering Heights has proved to be cinematic marmite - you either love it or hate it. For me personally, it is an underrated, if not flawless, adaptation that deserves a second chance.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Passion, 11 Oct. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Wuthering Heights [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
This 1992 screen adaptation, by Peter Kosminsky, of Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights, covers all the chapters of the book (unlike the previous versions). Unfortunately, the movie should use at least another 90min to be complete, without then, more then 30 years of narration are difficult to follow, especially, by someone who haven’t read the book. But Kosminsky still made (in my opinion) the best adaptation ever of this novel, since the lack of time is well compensated by a great cast, amazing scenery and melodies by Ryuichi Sakamoto, a true artist.
In this story about passion, hate and revenge, Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes are Cathy and Heathcliff, wild characters whose doomed love is stronger then death. Fiennes really makes a perfect Heathcliff, improving his rough temper and Binoche, although it may seem too much, plays both Cathy, and her daughter, Catherine. She’s a great actress worthy of the challenge and it worked perfectly well. Other actors such as, Jeremy Northam, Janet McTeer, Simon Shepard and Sophie Ward also help to bring the novel to the screen, making a must see movie, for anyone who loves a beautiful love story, well performed. And the most important thing, the movie really keeps faithful to the essential of the immortal tale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but flawed., 14 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Wuthering Heights [DVD] [1992] (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.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly dreadful, 2 Dec. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Wuthering Heights [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is an awful version of the book. They tried to cover the whole story and made a dreadful mess of it. Juliette Binoches's French accent is horribly distracting, and it really wasn't fair of anyone to expect her to be able to cope with a character as complicated as Catherine. And whose idea was it to have her play the YOUNG Cathy, too? It's so plainly the same woman in a bad wig ... Ralph Fiennes isn't too great as Heathcliff, either - you get the feeling he didn't really want to play the part at all (in fact - I think he auditioned for Edgar Linton ...). Jeremy Northam acquits himself well as Hindley and Janet McTeer is fine as Nelly Dean, but they are about the only two bright points in the whole pig's breakfast.
The costumes are bizarre, the mock gothic construction of The Heights looks as if a strong wind would blow it over, and the dales scenery may be spectacular, but it isn't where Emily bronte set her story. Those aren't moors.
Loused up all around, really, by someone who didn't seem to have a very firm grasp of his source material.
Don't waste your money on this.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obsessive love, 4 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
I have given this film five stars, mainly on the strength of Ralph Fiennes performance. He focuses on bringing out the raw side of Heathcliff, showing him as an uncultured rough man driven by a need to possess utterly the only woman who has ever touched him emotionally. For a portrayal of uncontrolled obsessive love see this man act. Juliette Binoche trys hard to match him as Cathy but she struggles to portray convincingly the wild tormenting streak that Cathy is meant to have and her elusive 'catch me if you can' nature and it is difficult to see why Heathcliiff would have been driven almost mad by a desire to have her. Still, that aside, the music is haunting and the film is visually stunning with wild sweeping expanses of moor and sky. I also thought it worked well with Emily Bronte narrating the story as it highlighted the underlying emotional longing, both that of the lovers and also of the girl that wrote the story. See the film just to lose yourself and catch a glimpse of a wildness that is better portrayed in this film than any of the other versions I have seen.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A terrible let down, 12 Jan. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Wuthering Heights [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I have been trying to find a suitable version of Wuthering Heights on video to help my niece with her studies. As this version was the first to try to film the whole book AND boasted an excellent cast, I had hoped that it was what I was looking for. However, unfortunately, it's a major disappointment and, frankly, a bit of a mess.
It's hard to put your finger on precisely what is wrong. Although, on the surface, Ralph Fiennes is miscast he's a normally excellent actor who should have been able to surmount the obstacle. He never quite makes it and, indeed, from time to time falls into the sin of overacting. Poor Juliette Binoche was even MORE badly miscast, battling a shaky script and her own, inescapable Frenchness, she never really had a hope.
The film itself is all over the place and doesn't seem to have any form or direction. The brooding atmosphere that charges and informs Emily Bronte's classic is entirely missing. And I'm afraid that terrible plywood house doesn't help, either.
I tried very hard to like this film and find something good to say about it, but there isn't anything.
It fails as a film and it most certainly fails as a faithful version of Wuthering Heights.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The whole book, but nothing like the book....., 12 Jan. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Wuthering Heights [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
I was looking forward to this. Both leads are fine actors and Ralph Fiennes positively smoulders as Heathcliffe, balancing his vulnerabilty and violence delicately. Juliette Binoche, however, seems woefully miscast,French accent and all, and although she plays Catherine's passion and flightiness well, the darker side of her character is left unexplored.
The cinematography evokes the wildness of the moors; full of dark, powerful, broodiness.
This production still concentrates on the love story,as,indeed, one would expect, but there is so much more to Bronte's text, which this film ,only in part, begins to explore.Why do producers shy away from the raw cruelty of Heathcliff and Cathy towards each other and ultimately towards themselves? Opting, even here, for a sanitised, less complex portrayal of the lovers. Worth watching, but far from a definitive version of an exceptional novel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mmmm what happened here?, 20 April 2007
By 
sam hrt (Lancs, England, Uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wuthering Heights [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
Ok. It appears to me that the director of this movie was a tad confused. Either that or he hasn't read the book. If he has he would know that Catherine Earnshaw was not giggly bimbo & Heathcliff & Catherine were around 18 years old. But whatever, all the adaptations made them appear around about 30. My biggest disappoints were that they didn't put the scene in where he bangs his head against the tree even though Ralph didn't object. Madness! And what is it with the physical touching bit? They acted like teenagers! Their love was intense but as far as I'm concerned NOT LUST or impure. Stick to the book's outlook! What is wrong with Nelly? She just seems the right age but WAY TOO QUITE for my liking! She wasn't just a servant but a part of the family. To be fair however the best bits of the movie were when Nelly cries and the wind is blowing havoc with Heathcliff's hair you can see the intensity in his eyes. WOW. That made me cry. What else me cry was when he broke the door to get to Catherine that was just completely unexpected. It is a movie to be proud of however, as I don't cry easily and this had me blubbering. The locations came as a bonus & Hareton wasn't as gormless as most adaptations make him out to be and that can only be a good thing. Could have been so much more. Especially with such a talented cast aka Fiennes (mostly).
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!!!!, 15 May 2005
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This review is from: Wuthering Heights [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
This version of Emily Bronte's Wuthering heights is Brilliant! I can't pick a single fault! You are drawn into the film in the first second especially by the dramatic soundtrack - which is fantastic! This film has suceeded in being faithful to the book by bringing alive the beautiful story of Catherine and Heathcliff's love. Definetly worth buying, especially to fans of the book who want a film faithful to the book and want to see the breath taking story alive on film!
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Wuthering Heights [DVD] [1992]
Wuthering Heights [DVD] [1992] by Peter Kosminsky (DVD - 2003)
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