Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    Oct 4, 2012
    100
    Wuthering Heights is a model of how to bring a classic novel kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.
  2. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Oct 3, 2012
    91
    It's an intense, uncompromising take that restores some of the shock that made Wuthering Heights so notable when it first appeared.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 6, 2012
    90
    This may test your patience, it's not for everyone, it's a stretch to call this "entertainment" and so on. As far as Heathcliff being black – well, deal with it. Arnold's simply right about that one, and it's Laurence Olivier and Ralph Fiennes and all those costume-drama versions of the story that are wrong.
  4. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Oct 5, 2012
    90
    Still, for me, Wuthering Heights' almost impersonal immersion in the light and texture and sound of the moors was the source of its vividness and necessity. In order for the art of literary adaptation to remain vital, we have to be willing to let directors throw aside the book and film their dream of it.
  5. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Oct 3, 2012
    83
    Willful, meandering, and intriguing, this Wuthering Heights is similarly headstrong.
  6. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Oct 23, 2012
    80
    For less patient viewers, the film might play out like an endurance test, a two-hour documentary on wind. But as unforgiving as the glacially paced film is, it's nonetheless utterly absorbing - a cool pink tongue flicking against an open wound. [18 Oct 2012]
  7. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Oct 2, 2012
    80
    Arnold's vibrant, Malickian adaptation has another bold stroke worth mentioning: Heathcliff, a Gypsy in the original text, is now an Afro-Caribbean former slave, initially a bruised teen (Glave) and then an unusual, self-made man (Howson).
  8. 80
    Arnold's newest testament to passion and squalor strikes a tone somewhere between Cary Fukinaga's emo "Jane Eyre" and Sophia Coppola's revisionist-hip "Marie Antoinette."
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 29, 2012
    80
    Perhaps above everything else, Arnold returns us to the most potent fact about the Cathy and Heathcliff love affair: it is a love affair between equals, not between a woman with coquettish "erotic capital" and a man with property and status.
  10. Reviewed by: Mary Corliss
    Sep 29, 2012
    80
    Faithful and bold adaptation.
  11. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Nov 28, 2012
    75
    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?
  12. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Oct 1, 2012
    75
    In whittling down Emily Brontë's romance to its most earthly aspects, Andrea Arnold stylizes herself into an unavoidable corner.
  13. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Oct 4, 2012
    70
    The grunts and howls seem every bit as mannered as the florid diction of Olivier and Oberon, perhaps even more so. Their artifice, like Brontë's own, was overt, whereas Ms. Arnold strives to disguise hers in the trappings of authenticity. And as a result, the impact - the grandeur, the art - of Wuthering Heights is diminished.
  14. Reviewed by: Simon Abrams
    Oct 2, 2012
    70
    Heathcliff does not get the revenge he wants because he wants to escape the specific traumas of his adolescent past, shown in the film's first half. And because Arnold traps her viewers with Heathcliff's murky version of events. There's no room for enriching subtext in this version of Wuthering Heights because all the information we need is inscribed on the film's glassy surface.
  15. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Oct 11, 2012
    67
    The environment is one of unrelenting cruelty and misanthropy, which certainly brings out the novel's darker themes, but can be something of a slog to watch.
  16. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 29, 2012
    63
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 8, 2012
    63
    Arnold's Wuthering Heights has its doom-laden moments of urgency and heartache, but vast swaths of the (longish) film just seem to meander across the muddy hills.
  18. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 18, 2012
    63
    If the new Wuthering Heights makes you uncomfortable, that's part of Andrea Arnold's game plan.
  19. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Oct 5, 2012
    63
    If you can handle the glacial pacing and lack of dialogue, there is a certain squirmy satisfaction to watching this well-worn story of love, cruelty and madness play out minus the long-winded speeches and romantic catharsis.
  20. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Oct 12, 2012
    60
    It's just that there isn't enough story - the book shouldn't be required reading for the film to make sense.
  21. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Oct 11, 2012
    50
    Her approach to the material is fresh, considering her focus on the messy, muddy landscape as a metaphor for the story's unbridled relationships. But with so much attention paid to mood and imagery, emotions seem to get lost in the wind.
  22. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Oct 7, 2012
    50
    Almost nothing engages us emotionally. [8 Oct. 2012, p.86]
  23. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 7, 2012
    50
    The new Wuthering Heightsis all gloomy moors and muck, but not much convincing passion.
  24. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 18, 2012
    25
    The bottom line with Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights is that the writer-director has taken Emily Brontë's tale of undying passion and rendered it passionless.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Aug 3, 2014
    9
    This was a very welcome alternative to the typically theatrical adaptations of Wuthering Heights. There was very little dialogue, and IThis was a very welcome alternative to the typically theatrical adaptations of Wuthering Heights. There was very little dialogue, and I suspect the film might not work so well for viewers who have not read the book. Yet this allowed the essence of the book to be captured with greater accuracy and depth than other adaptations have managed. The pace was unhurried, allowing space for emotions to be portrayed, developed and captured. Much of the film was shot on the moors with a handheld camera, the only soundtrack being the harsh westerly winds. It felt very raw. I still felt that the dark heart of the book was not fully exposed. There were glimpses of Healthcliff's violence, but the complexity and depth of his dark personality was not fully captured. Full Review »