IMDb Rating: 7/10
TV-PG | 2h 22min Drama, Romance | 18 Jan 2009 (UK) |TV Mini-Series
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84% Fresh (Audience Score)
Director: Coky Giedroyc
Writer: Peter Bowker, Emily Brontë
Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Andrew Lincoln
IMDb summary: Foundling Heathcliff is raised by the wealthy Earnshaws in Yorkshire but in later life launches a vendetta against the family.
we are not spoiler-free
Firstly, since when does Tom Hardy do drama and romance? Tom Hardy is best remembered as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, so we were a little surprised to see him in a love story as epic as this, but yes, that’s him with the not-so-good looking wig joined by the stunning Charlotte Riley who plays Cathy.
This was a mini-series that released back in 2009 in the UK and went entirely under our radar for sure – well, my radar. Jeremy doesn’t usually gravitate towards romance themes like I do which is why it’s always good to get his opinion. So we watched this over several nights and finally finished it, and we were pleasantly surprised.
If you don’t know the story of Wuthering Heights, you are missing out. Emily Bronte’s period piece is considered one of the “cornerstones” of romance novels. Having read the book and watched several of the films, I did have the bar relatively high before reviewing this. And happy to say Tom Hardy was a breath of fresh air as Heathcliff. Supported by Charlotte Riley as Cathy, they truly did embody the tragic lovers and are more than believable.
What’s particularly juicy about this story is that it’s as much a story about revenge as it is a love story. Heathcliff is taken in by a wealthy family living on the beautiful moors of Yorkshire and is treated poorly by everyone except the maid and Cathy. As a young boy, there isn’t much to Heathcliff – he barely speaks and is always off somewhere with Cathy. The relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff begins as an innocent friendship but blossoms into something much more by the time they’re young adults.
And it is here that things slowly begin to go terribly wrong for both Cathy and Heathcliff as their love twists into something nothing short of an obsession. While Heathcliff is playing the “treat them mean to keep them keen” game with Cathy’s feelings, he is entirely unaware of exactly how much more serious things have become until it’s too late. As Cathy and Heathcliff begin to slowly drift apart, Cathy finds love with another man, much to Heathcliff’s disdain. And as time passes, Cathy eventually becomes pregnant while still holding a candle for Heathcliff which again, turns into something passionate and forbidden. Cathy dies while giving birth to Andrew Lincoln’s child after trying to find her way back to Heathcliff in a moment of desperation. Already weakened by illness, Cathy ignores the stormy weather outside and braves the moors trying to find Heathcliff.
The film sticks to the traditional storyline, but at the same time, the actors are doing such a great job of making the characters their very own. I was thoroughly impressed by Hardy and Riley but also by the supporting cast with Andrew Lincoln (from The Walking Dead) as Cathy’s estranged husband and Sarah Lancashire (Eastenders/Happy Valley) as the kind-hearted maid Nelly.
The scenery and background for this love story are beyond beautiful and adds so much to the drama, particularly near the end when we see Cathy at her lowest and close to fading away. It is the moors that she runs to, almost as if the land itself belongs to Heathcliff and she knows he will eventually return.
It’s hard to describe the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff in a way that is easy to understand because it’s not easy to understand at all. Perhaps back in the time when this novel was written, love was considered something very different from what we consider love to be now. Cathy and Heathcliff have a complex and interesting relationship which I think is what most people find themselves drawn to and shocked by the extremes both characters are willing to go to. It’s just not healthy at all.
This TV series definitely does the novel justice in every regard. Tom Hardy’s Heathcliff is rugged, rude and a borderline sociopath with a voice to match (it sounds very much like the same voice he used for Bane which was creepy AF). And poor Cathy. What can we say about her that doesn’t diminish the tortured and complex character that she is?
So take a weekend off and watch this if you’re looking for a sweeping romance to take your mind off things, this will do the job nicely.
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Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on https://thebrokenquill.com.