Run time: 130 mins
Actor-turned-filmmaker Frances O’Connor’s fictionalised biopic of the Wuthering Heights wordsmith.
In rural 1840s West Yorkshire, Emily loves creating stories with older sister Charlotte and younger Anne, under the watchful eye of their father Patrick and Aunt Elizabeth. Emily is aware of her reputation as an oddball, and enjoys puncturing pretentious people she meets. So she’s delighted when her partner in crime, wayward brother Branwell, returns home after his hedonistic stint in London goes wrong. But when minister Weightman arrives in town, and Emily begins studying French with him, feelings of passion begin to distract her.
A heady mix of surging romance and gloomy, gothic drama come together with surprising flair. While O’Connor takes liberties with the historical narrative, she skilfully reflects present-day social politics against period detail without ever tipping over into Bridgerton-style pastiche. A strong cast headed by Emma Mackey create strikingly textured characters, Mackey crafting a sympathetic Emily, even as the bullheaded writer goes on the attack against the accepted religiosity and moralistic teachings that swirl around her.
Getting under the skin of a literary icon, this is an emotive exploration of the artistic temperament that defined her.