Emily Brontë’s life has always fascinated me, so I was interested to learn that there’s a new biopic coming about the strangest of the famous sisters. Emily premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September and is due for release in the UK and USA this month. The director is actress Frances O’Connor. Emma Mackey (from Sex Education) has been cast as Emily, and the movie evidently focuses on her brief life before she wrote Wuthering Heights.
I must admit to having doubts about such a film, especially as it seems to have been ‘sexed-up’ with a relationship between Emily and the Haworth curate, William Weightman (there’s no evidence he had any romantic interest in Emily, though he did once send all three sisters Valentines). You can see the trailer here:
If a biopic is done well, it can be such a pleasure to watch a favourite author represented on screen. I loved Miss Potter, Out of Africa and The Pact (both about Karen Blixen), Wilde, Molière, An Angel at My Table (about Janet Frame), Iris (about Iris Murdoch), Testament of Youth (about Vera Brittain), Enid (about Enid Blyton), Saving Mr Banks (about P.L. Travers), Goodbye Christopher Robin (about A.A. Milne), The Happy Prince (about Oscar Wilde), and Shadowlands (about C.S. Lewis).
Others have been less successful. I’m not a huge fan of Bright Star (about Keats) although I know many others love it, Colette, A Quiet Passion (about Emily Dickinson), Sylvia (about Sylvia Plath), or The Hours (about Virginia Woolf). This list shows many I’ve not even heard of and some I’d really love to see.
Possibly I enjoy biopics more when there is less known about the writer. I liked Shakespeare in Love, but most probably his life was nothing like the way Joseph Fiennes depicted it. How much liberty can be taken with the known facts? I do prefer accuracy, so it will be interesting to see if the coming Emily bears much resemblance to the actual life of the woman who wrote one of the most unusual and haunting classics of all time.