What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids might try to watch this movie as an alternative to reading the novel for English class, but it only covers a portion of the overall story. And while it's framed as a ghost story, it's not really for young horror fans -- though the spooky angle might get some kids to sit down and watch a classic they wouldn't otherwise. Heathcliff has summed up a "romantic" hero for generations of schoolgirls, but he is rarely heroic in the traditional movie sense. Rather, he's vindictive and obsessed, and determined to make the woman he loves suffer because of his heartache. A lot of Heathcliff's negatives are attributed to his "gypsy" ancestry, a bit of racism and classed-based discrimination from the old days.
- Families can talk about the dysfunctional relationship Heathcliff has with Cathy. How many of their problems are family and social pressures trying to force them apart -- she's aristocratic and he's a virtual peasant -- and how much of the trouble is their own making? How might they have found happiness together or separately? You could compare the movie's narrative with the Emily Bronte novel, which covers a longer time span and has many more twists and turns. Do you see any battle-scarred love affairs like this in the movies made today?