Project Valentine, Day 12: Wuthering Heights

2/13/2011

Today's entry didn't go entirely as I'd hoped.  I was originally planning to conclude the My Creepy Valentine block of movies with a movie recommended to me by my friend Steven.  I had it at the top of my Netflix instant streaming queue and everything!  It was there when I woke up this morning, but by the time I sat down to start the movie, it had become unavailable, with no warning at all!  Freaking Netflix...  I'm going to consider how to take my revenge on you while I write this blog post.

So, like I said, first choice was out, which left me with a dilemma.  I'm in the middle of My Creepy Valentine - that's a pretty specific criteria!  True, I created the block just so I'd have an excuse to watch the three Twilight movies, but I'm OCD enough that I still had to keep my project split into groups of four movies so that it divides evenly into 28.  See, that way I can make the act of watching a movie a day seem less like fun and more like work!  My mind turned to gothic romance, and of course the quintessential gothic romance is Wuthering Heights.

A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that this story has been adapted for radio, film, and TV nearly three dozen times.  The one that I watched tonight was a two-part Masterpiece Theater adaptation made in 2009.  I've never read the book (though I enjoyed this movie enough that I just downloaded it to my Nook), and I've never seen any other version, so I'm not sure how faithful this one was, but I would definitely recommend it.

The plot of this one is pretty sprawling.  I mean, not in a bad way, just in a way that makes it impossible to summarize tidily.  To briefly recap, though, Heathcliff was an orphan taken into a wealthy family.  He has two adoptive siblings, the cruel Hindley and the beautiful Catherine.  Heathcliff and Catherine fall in love, but he is never accepted by anybody except their father.  Once the father passes away and Hindley returns home, Catherine is courted by another man, whom she eventually marries.  Heathcliff, spurned, takes vengeance on all around him.  I'm making so many English Lit majors cringe right now.  Just know that this is a very abbreviated version of the story, with many significant details omitted.  The big theme to take from it is unrequited love.

If the word "antihero" didn't exist, it would have to be created just to describe the character of Heathcliff.  You guys, he is seriously the TITS.  I can think of only one other character who got married just to spite somebody else, and that's Scarlet O'Hara.  Let's catalog his revenge: believes that he cursed Hindley's wife to death, vanished for three years, took advantage of Hindley's drunkenness and gambling addiction to destroy him, toyed with Catherine's affections after she was already married, and then married her sister-in-law just to twist the knife.  Then, just for good measure, he waits until she's been dead 18 years and forces her daughter into marrying his son.  He's a jerk, but the dude is committed!  Although I could never do it myself, I just really can't help but be in awe of a character who, if you asked why he got married, would answer, "Because fuck you, that's why."  Are you paying attention, Twilight?  This is how you do a bad boy.

But here's the other great thing about Heathcliff in this particular adaptation - he's played by Tom Hardy, who rocked the screen last summer in Inception (and also had the single best line in that movie, "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.").  He's also going to play Bane in the next Batman movie, which I can't wait to see!

RATING - Loved this one.  I can't believe I'm 35 and have never read or seen this.  I give it five leatherbound copies of Ivanhoe out of five.

LESSON - Old hurts can cut deeply, and can affect all around you.  Love wisely and love well.  And seriously, think twice before you cross a guy named Heathcliff.

4 comments:

metallikyle said...

"That's right, you don't double cross a man named Heathcliff, because in the morning, the rooster's gonna crow! Cock a doodle doo!"
- Heathcliff Huxtible

Danny said...

I'm awarding that the best comment award for the entire time I've had this blog. Youtube is letting me down, because I can't find that clip anywhere.

Will Meekin said...

Holy yarn sweater Batman; Kyle, that's the best sub-reference ever. Dennis Miller weeps.

Wm.

Jessica said...

I feel so lucky just to have read the comments here but it's attached to your awesomes blog...so score.

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