Customer Review

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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