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Wuthering Heights Review

Movies.com Critics

3.5

Dave White Profile

They are never, ever, getting back together. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    70

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The new Wuthering Heightsis all gloomy moors and muck, but not much convincing passion.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Arnold's interpretation is taciturn, often entirely without dialogue, though it becomes increasingly conventional in its scene structure as it goes and as the actors hand off the key roles. In reality it's a bit of a slog. ... The movie plays like an idea for a 'Wuthering Heights' adaptation.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    What she hasn't done is make a terrifically entertaining film. Although this version dumps many of the novel's passages, particularly from the later chapters, it's dreary and slow-paced, heavy on atmosphere, introverted. I suppose life on an isolated moor was like that at the time, but do we need this much atmosphere?

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Willful, meandering, and intriguing, this Wuthering Heights is similarly headstrong.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Wuthering Heights reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Contemplative adaptation focuses on teen passion and angst.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that director Andrea Arnold's adaptation of Wuthering Heights isn't a start-to-finish version of the novel but rather a focused account of the first half of the tragic love story. There's a great deal more language ("c--t," "f--k," "s--t," and more) in this unrated film than previous screen incarnations of Emily Bronte's classic. And while there are considerably fewer gothic elements in the movie than in the book, there's still a great deal of sexual chemistry between Cathy and Heathcliff, who go from horsing around and wrestling as kids to kissing passionately as adults (they also see another couple having sex in a field). A few characters die, and there are violent scenes of Heathcliff being flogged, farm animals being hunted and readied to eat, Cathy being attacked by a hound, and a wife being pushed around and locked in a room.

  • Families can talk about why this literary romance is so revered -- particularly among teen readers/moviegoers. How do Cathy and Heathcliff compare to other doomed lovers?
  • What forces keep Cathy and Heathcliff apart? What choices do each of them make that led to their separation? 
  • Those familiar with the novel: How does the movie change your perspective of Heathcliff by leaving out the part of the book where he enacts his intricate form of revenge on Edgar and Hindley?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: In hindsight, it's easy to see that the message of Wuthering Heights is that, ideally, love shouldn't be limited by social status and circumstance -- that true love should prevail over societal constructs. But the story is also a cautionary tale about how obsessive love can become and how it can transform lovers kept apart into bitter and sickly shells of themselves.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Mr. Earnshaw adopts Heathcliff -- a homeless orphan boy -- when he had no reason to do so other than charity. Cathy sees beyond Heathcliff's status and into his heart. She loves him even though it isn't wise for them to be together. Still, despite their love for each other, Cathy and Heathcliff aren't the best role models: They're obsessed with each other, and, instead of communicating openly about their prospects of being together, they both make irrevocable mistakes that cost them their happiness.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Heathcliff is beaten brutally on more than one occasion. He's once flogged so badly that it leaves bloody scars on his back. Catherine is attacked by a hound and can barely walk, forcing her to convalesce in a neighbor's estate. More than one character dies. A husband pushes his wife and locks her in a room. There's also the graphic killing of animals for food on the Earnshaw farm.

  • sex false3

    Sex: In one scene, a young Heathcliff sees a couple having sex in the field; some vague thrusting and moaning can be seen/heard. Heathcliff and Cathy don't consummate their relationship, but they do share several moments of intimacy and closeness. As young teens, they roll around on top of each other, and Cathy kisses Heathcliff's wounds. In the last portion of the film, couples kiss -- sometimes quite passionately. There's brief nonsexual male nudity as dead Mr. Earnshaw's body is washed.

  • language false4

    Language: Several uses of the word "c--t." Other profanities include "f--k," "s--t," "arse," "whore," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Cathy's brother Hindley becomes a drunk after his wife's death. He's often seen with a drink in his hand.

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