Poor takes on classic material are getting so commonplace that when a new adaptation looks like it may actually hit the right notes and invoke the right tone in service to its source material ‐ well, it’s something special. The name Andrea Arnold is well-known to most cinephiles, thanks to her gorgeous films Fish Tank (which features a Michael Fassbender performance that should hint at what we can expect from his next film, Shame) and Red Road. With her emphasis on captivating visuals and deeply emotional stories, a period piece seemed like a natural fit for the director.
Her take on Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and today we get our first real look at Arnold’s vision. This new Wuthering Heights features some distinct differences from more traditional versions of the material ‐ namely a black actor playing Heathcliff (James Howson) and a Cathy who appears to be much more sympathetic than those we’ve seen before. Check out the mostly-wordless teaser trailer for Wuthering Heights after the break.
The story of Heathcliff and Cathy is the sort of sweeping, ill-fated love story they just don’t make any more. Heathcliff is poor young lad who gets all but adopted by the rich Earnshaw family. But everything is not wine and roses, and Heathcliff’s life continues to be difficult and filled with struggle ‐ mainly thanks to his destructive relationship with Cathy Earnshaw (Kaya Scodelario). That’s the short version, but trust me on this, it’s sweeping and ill-fated and just really, really sad.
Arnold shot her film in Academy Ratio (1:37:1), and this trailer is presented as such. Fans of Arnold’s work won’t be surprised by the visually-heavy look here, one that is strangely suited to Brontë’s wordy novel. I think it’s a gorgeous, rich teaser, but it certainly won’t appeal to everyone.
Wuthering Heights opens in the UK on November 11, with no announcement yet for a US release date. [First Showing]