Get a jump on plans for your weekend. Two much talked about films are making their USA theatrical debuts today.
First… It feels like we have been talking about the British adaptation of Wuthering Heights forever. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2011. And now, finally, those in the USA will get to see Andrea Arnold’s adaptation of the classic novel by Emily Bronte.
Our interest in the film was sparked when we heard that Arnold decided her Heathcliff would be played by James Howson. Howson, a young black actor, is the first black actor to have the opportunity to play Heathcliff in a feature film.
Arnold based her casting on Bronte’s description of Heathcliff as “dark-skinned gypsy in aspect” and “a little Lascar.”
Here’s the project’s synopsis:
An epic love story that spans childhood well into the young adult years, the film follows Heathcliff (in Arnold’s version, a black boy), who is taken in by a Yorkshire farmer, Earnshaw. Living in Earnshaw’s home on the windswept moors, Heathcliff develops a passionate relationship with the farmer’s teenage daughter, Cathy, inspiring the envy and mistrust of his son, Hindley. When Earnshaw passes away, the now-grown characters (played by Kaya Scodelario, James Howson and Lee Shaw) must finally confront the intense feelings and rivalries that have built up throughout their years together.
The film opens today in New York, with a national rollout to follow.
Critics seem to love it, with the film currently scoring an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here’s it’s trailer.
The second film is Lee Daniels’ much anticpated return to the screen, the southern thriller The Paperboy.
The film is also adapted from a novel of the same name, by Pete Dexter. It tells the story of “a reporter and his younger brother as they investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate a man on death row.”
The Paperboy stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack, and David Oyelowo.
It premiered at the Canne Film Festival to a mixed reception, but recieved much publicity for some controversial content, and behind-the-scenes reports.
Daniels had this to say about the film:
“I think that you’ll find it very provocative. It’s definitely an unexpected choice after Precious. The reviews have been mixed. They’re the same as Precious, but I’m not here to please you as I did with Precious. With Paperboy, there’s some big stars in it [including Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman] and they were surprised that I got them to do what I got Mo’Nique and Gabby [Gabourey Sidibe] to do. But I think die hard Lee Daniels fans will love the film and those who can’t stomach the truth will be appalled and call it disgusting.”
So there you have it; you can decide whether you are among those die Hard Daniels fans he speaks of, when the films opens in theaters today, on 11 screens around the country. Check your local listings to find out if you’re close to one of those 11.
Reviews haven’t been too kind, with the film currently scoring a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Watch its trailer below: