Smart Reads: ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘The Master’, and Charisma


Smart Reads: ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘The Master’, and Charisma


Today in culture: The many virtues of The Master, Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, and why the internet won’t let us look away.

-On Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights adaptation: “I like seeing the new ways these stories can be told, and for the first thirty minutes I enjoyed watching this new one: its breathy shots of the moors, the trembling always-rainy landscape, the way the characters’ internal landscape is externalized. But then, right around the time that Hindley returned with his wife, I realized I was sitting there with that cringe of the literarily betrayed.”

-Before they were writers: jobs that famous authors once held.

-“Freddie is a creature of instinct, a Pavlovian mass of skittering neural tissue, incapable of either Welles’s wryness or Robert Mitchum’s inner distance.” The manic charisma of The Master

-And the performative nature of that charisma: “When in the presence of those with much charisma, we may even apprehend their being more strongly than we do our own, hence the tendency for the diminishment of individual identities in cult settings. That [Freddie] Quell retains his own individuality to the end makes him the perfect foil to [Lancaster] Dodd’s cult and vice versa”.

-Roxane Gay asks, why aren’t we allowed to just look away?

Andy Serkis will adapt Orwell’s Animal Farm…sort of.

-Anthony Lane is confused by Cloud Atlas: “the best thing about Cloud Atlas is that it could, and should, turn into a properly divisive film, touching off feuds between the fervid and the splenetic, but one has to ask: does it allow for immersion? Even as we applaud the dramatic machinery, are we being kept emotionally at bay?”

-I did it all for the umlaut: The New Yorker shockingly endorses Obama.