Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tom Hardy as Heathcliff- a story called "Wuthering Heights"

I read Wuthering Heights in high school...sort of.
I was in a ton of AP classes and loved to read but as soon as you put the phrase "mandatory reading" in front of anything, something in my brain blocks it.
Kind of like my brain is saying, "hell no I won't go!"
Or trying to preserve my love of reading, while avoiding the highlighting of freshly printed pages.
Did anyone else hate that?
 I hate marking in books and as soon as you got in honors/AP classes, you were highlighting and marking up pages of books galore.
It always made me sad, but that's besides the point.

I read most of Wuthering Heights and fell in love with Heathcliff's character.
I say most, because I'm pretty sure I skipped around the chapters and got summaries from my friends as I was balancing multiple difficult courses, one of the captains of the swim team, student government, schools store, Homecoming Court, etc. etc. 
You get the idea. I love to read...I just get lazy.
Now back to Heathcliff.
He was handsome, rugged, and wild.
Basically one of your classic bad boys.
His fate was predetermined by his birth and upbringing, but Cathy wanted to change that.

Now I have a huge celebrity crush on Tom Hardy.
He is oh-be-still-my-beating-heart type of sexy.
I actually met him in person.  As in he sat next to me at a theater and we talked.
It's a good story and I can't believe at the time, 
I didn't know who he was besides an incredibly hot man.
So once I found out he did a Masterpiece Classic of Wuthering Heights, I knew I had to watch it.
Coincidentally, my Amazon Prime account was showing it for free!
It was fate ;)

Now this is where it gets down to the nitty gritty.
This relationship is worse than Gatsby and Daisy (another one of my favorites).
Actually, now thinking about it, those books have some overlapping themes.
Cathy and Heathcliff had a dangerous relationship.
I'm not sure if it was seeing the movie or having five or so years since I read the book, but it opened a whole new set of ideas on the novel.

They essentially made life a living hell for everyone around them.
Cathy loved Heathcliff and he was crazy about her, literally.
He goes a little bit mentally unstable towards the end.
Instead she chose Edgar because of his money and BOOM SHAKALAKA, chaos ensues.
I know the main "lesson" to be learned is that you should follow your heart because they loved each other even through death (crazy passions), 
but what I kept focusing on was how destructive they were.
Edgar loved Cathy and she was incredibly selfish for marrying him.
She married him solely for his money and because they got along
I get along with the mailman but that doesn't mean I'm talking him up. 
 She never stopped loving Heathcliff and that was so unfair to Edgar.
Heathcliff married Isabella and treated her like crap.  Ohmygoodness, his behavior towards his wife was unforgivable and he literally could not love her.  So instead, he was awful to her.
I could not bear the thought that he married her out of spite.
That poor woman truly came into that marriage so naive and so loving.  
He broke her down.
On one hand you have this deeply romantic story of two lovers who despite all circumstances, continue to love each other and then on the other, you have an unsuccessful, dangerous relationship that is labeled as romance. Kind of reminds me of some of the themes in Twilight, but I'm a terrible critic at that series because they're a guilty pleasure.  
Cathy and Heathcliff's all-over-the-place romance dragged down everyone around them.

I thought it was a crazy twist of the realities of life.
Realistically, Healthcliff would have lived probably at the poverty level, especially
if he hadn't learned how to con men based on their weaknesses.
Catherine would have stayed married to Edgar and although she dies later on in childbirth (sorry...spoiler alert), I feel like Edgar would have remarried.  Isabella would have probably found a respectable husband who didn't treat her so badly and Heathcliff would never have had the opportunities that were displayed in the book.

If Cathy did marry Heathcliff, she would have lived in squalor.  He didn't come from money, she's a woman, historically they would have had rough times.  So it made sense that she chose Edgar but it was so sad.  I would have chosen Heathcliff (especially if he's Tom Hardy...maybe with a haircut).
It might have been due to Cathy's upbringing, but she would have also just dealt with being married to Edgar.  In the storyline, she fought it because she couldn't stop loving Heathcliff.
So much conflict and so much pain.

The movie, as with all movies-based-on-books, only touched on the storyline and details.  If you haven't read the book, do so.  It goes into so much detail about the characters and what makes the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff so fascinating, yet dark.

Nevertheless, I still love Heathcliff.
He was awful, but I also felt like the world gave him such a rough start that he learned how to overcome adversity.  Maybe not in the best of ways, but he learned how to survive.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) he fell in love with a woman that he could never have.
He was given the opportunity of love and she loved him back.
In a culture surrounded by status, he would have never had her and yet he loved her.

I know this is turning into a short novel, but reading/watching Wuthering Heights made me think of the relationships we see today.  Cathy and Heathcliff grew up together, wild and unruly.  They loved each other with a legitimate passion.  The confines of society did them no favors.
Today, we have so many romantic notions but the divorce rate is high and people have the right ideas but aren't willing to fight for them.  Would Cathy and Heathcliff have made it, especially having nothing?  In my heart, I would hope that love would overcome all.
It also made me think of how people are brought into this world and how each person has a different set of circumstances and obstacles they must face.  Heathcliff had to face who he was and how the world would perceive, no matter how much he loved Cathy.

Definitely check out the book. It's my goal to read more of the classics and perhaps I'll see some of the movie versions as well.  Anna Karenina looks fabulous and again, deals with the themes of society influencing love.  Can't wait to read it and hopefully rent the movie since it's only in select theaters.

Well to wrap up this post, I thought I would share a quote from Cinema Paradiso.
It's absolutely fantastic if you haven't seen it.
Alfredo: Once upon a time, a king gave a feast. And there came the most beautiful princesses of the realm. Now, a soldier, who was standing guard, saw the king's daughter go by. She was the most beautiful one, and he immediately fell in love with her. But what could a poor soldier do when it came to the daughter of the king? Well, finally, one day, he managed to meet her, and he told her that he could no longer live without her. The princess was so impressed by his strong feelings that she said to the soldier: "If you can wait 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, then at the end of it, I shall be yours." Damn! The soldier immediately went there and waited one day. And two days. And ten. And then twenty. And every evening, the princess looked out of her window, but he never moved. During rain, during wind, during snow, he was always there. The bird shat on his head, and the bees stung him, but he didn't budge. After ninety nights, he had become all dried up, all white, and the tears streamed from his eyes. He couldn't hold them back. He no longer had the strength to sleep. All that time, the princess watched him. And on the 99th night, the soldier stood up, took his chair, and went away.
Salvatore: [later in the film, Toto gives Alfredo his interpretation] ... In one more night, the princess would have been his. But she also could not possibly have kept her promise. And it would have been terrible. He would have died. 
This way, however, at least for 99 days, he was living under 
the illusion that she was there, waiting for him. 



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