A poor boy of unknown origins is rescued from poverty and taken in by the Earnshaw family where he develops an intense relationship with his young foster sister, Cathy. Based on the classic novel by Emily Bronte.
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Heathcliff is Cathy Earnshaw's foster brother; more than that, he is her other half. When forces within and without tear them apart, Heathcliff wreaks vengeance on those he holds responsible, even into a second generation. Written by
After all these impressive reviews, there is not much else for me to say except that, on the whole, this film worked for me. The screenplay was very good and at times even excellent, although I would not put it in the same league as "Dangerous Liaisons". The film was visually a masterpiece, capturing essential decadence in its set and on location in Yorkshire.
Supporting cast were notable, particularly Janet McTeer and Simon Shepherd, who was very touching at times, especially with young Catherine. However, the film's quality came from the amazing performance of Ralph Fiennes whose sexual magnetism and intensity stole the screen. Indeed, without Fiennes, the film would have been too under-rated and even slow. Whilst Fiennes exploded in scenes such as breaking into the chapel, I found Binoche very stilted in her "emotional" scenes. At times, she over-acted whilst at others she lacked any expression at all. This made her character quite difficult to understand and I found it hard to imagine how the brooding, precarious Heathcliff could be so infatuated with her. She killed any sense of sexual tension and her acting seemed out of keeping with the others'.
Having said that, the film managed to develop the theme of love/hate with extreme ferocity. It portrayed how love can evoke pity and repulsion, blending passion with destruction, and life with death. Such contrasts effectively convey the eternal dichotomy of human love.
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