Nearing her death and after the publication of her novel, Emily Brontë remembers her troubled past when she and her brother Branwell spent their time playing, drinking, and scaring people out. During all this, a handsome curate William Weightman becomes a frequent visitor to the Brontës. And he and Emily, out of nowhere, develops a romantic affair.
British literature history will never forget that one of the houses in Yorkshire produced not one, not two but three writers who at such young ages wrote one of the most beloved novels. They were three sisters; Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Charlotte wrote ‘Jane Eyre‘. Emily’s only published novel was ‘Wuthering Heights‘. And Anne, the youngest of them, wrote only two novels in her lifetime, ‘Agnes Grey‘ and ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall‘.
This tendency of minimal but significant writing makes us believe that blessed literary prodigies came into existence who left this world at such young ages. They would certainly have done wonders had they all lived longer.
The film dramatizes all the family members and centralizes on Emily by reimagining her life with creative liberties. Unsure if the writing of Emily’s character in the film is accurate. But I get the motive that the filmmakers wanted the audience to understand why Emily chose to be sadistic as compared to the other sisters.
The dramatization of the old British era has always been on point. So the technicalities were not the primary concern for me. My keenness towards the film was to observe if Emily Brontë is characterized by the personal rank that justifies her significance to the birth of ‘Wuthering Heights’. Therefore, I couldn’t settle myself into that presentation.
EMILY AS EMILY
Something looked off in the writing. And that persistently is Emily’s portrayal of herself. Because she was an introvert, a timid and reserved woman who sometimes was unable to speak in public. She was a daydreamer who is understood to have created her own fictional universe. She was considered ‘The Strange One’. But the hows and whys of being ‘The Strange One’ were not fully understood.
And due to the reason Emily is so unknown to us, the filmmakers gave their vision and took liberty about her life and tried to reason it. But a fictional reimagination will come to debate when you alter the timeline or historical accuracies.
For example, the film shows that ‘Wuthering Heights’ is published under her name whereas it was published under her name after her death. The Brontë sisters used male pseudonyms for publishing novels because the author being a woman was quite unthinkable and there was a fear of rejection that would hurt the publishing company’s business. Thank Lord, how much the world has progressed from there.
Charlotte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ doesn’t revolve around the film and is depicted in a way that she got that inspiration after Branwell and Emily died. Whereas ‘Jane Eyre’ happened before ‘Wuthering Heights’. If this is all intentional, for me, it makes no sense. The power of writing compromises for lacking critical factualities.
Affair with Weightman?
The biggest mess is Emily shown to be in love with William Weightman. There is no trace or fact-finding if Emily ever fell in love. And then I also question, how come she wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’? The principal curator of Brontë Parsonage Museum, Ann Dinsdale, has told The Telegraph that there is no evidence that Emily had a love affair with anyone. William Weightman is rumored to have an affair with the youngest sister, Anne.
So the director tried to squeeze the younghood of feminine liberty and didn’t only make Emily kiss William Weightman but commit multiple intercourses. Unsure of how far you can go with the character. Not being a conservative here but I believe Emily would have been written much better.
THE BIGGEST PLUS
Yes, I must praise Emma Mackay‘s selection for the titular role. She really fitted in that character and gave us a thorough look at the suffering and desperation. The devastation that she throws on William is what I am talking about.
‘Emily’ is an assumption galvanizing a possibility of vibrance in Emily Brontë’s supposedly love life. But the attempt of justifying the What-Ifs is ridiculed by passive writing.
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