Tuesday 6 June 2023

Just a few questions about 'Emily'

Once I saw a beautiful film about the French writer Colette. So beautiful that I watched it again when it was on television. I knew and still know very little about Colette, so I could enjoy the movie without thinking about the historical facts of her life or the international reception of her books. 

Now there is Frances O’Connor’s film Emily about Emily Brontë, a writer of whom I like to think I know a lot more. This is also a beautiful film. But I have a few questions. 

It is good that the poems are there in Emily. It is good that the actors look like one could imagine the Brontës might have looked, with the exception of the one who plays Branwell. The house looks like the Parsonage in Haworth, though there seems to be more space in every room. 

It’s a beautiful film, but … 

… why is there so little about the relation between Emily and Anne (like twins they were, according to Ellen Nussey)? 

… why is the rivalry between Emily and Charlotte made so big? 

… why is there nothing about Emily’s love for dogs and other animals? 

… Emily did not write Wuthering Heights after Branwell’s death. She would not have had the time. 

… in the film the Rev. Patrick Brontë finds Emily odd, but usually we are told he loved her most of his children. 

… for us in the Brussels Brontë Group, it is a pity that there is so little about the sisters’ stay in Belgium. And I do not think they had their own room in Brussels, just a part of the dormitory, separated with curtains. 

… it is unlikely, that Emily would have met William Weightman for the first time at Top Withens. Why would Patrick have not introduced his new curate to his children at home? 

… how on earth could Emily and William Weightman have found the time and place to meet and make love regularly and in secret in or around Haworth? 

And the strangest thing in this film: the scenes with the mask, Emily “being” their mother. I really did not understand this part. Why would the Brontës not talk about their mother? Both their father and their Aunt Branwell must have missed her a lot and remembered her to the children. 

But still it is beautiful film. 

  Marcia Zaaijer

No comments: