Wuthering heights

The sexing-up of Emily Brontë

In a month that has seen more than its fair share of chaos, I had hoped the release of the first-ever Emily Brontë biopic would at last offer some cause for celebration. But Emily, which arrived in cinemas this week, has provided quite the opposite.  Frances O’Connor’s directorial debut focuses on a fling between Emily (played by Emma Mackey) and her father Patrick’s dishy assistant curate William Weightman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), suggesting that their racy romance inspired Wuthering Heights.  Not only is there no evidence that this relationship took place, but there are clues that it was actually the youngest of the sisters, Anne, who caught Weightman’s eye. Charlotte wrote that Weightman ‘sits opposite

A tangle of nonsense from the sloppy Caryl Churchill: A Number, at the Old Vic, reviewed

A Number, by Caryl Churchill, is a sci-fi drama of impenetrable complexity. It’s set in a future society where cloning has become possible for those on modest incomes. A Cockney father reveals to his grown-up son that he’s a replica of his older brother who died, aged four, in a car crash that also killed his mum. The son reacts with anger and bafflement. But Dad soothes him with happy news. The boy’s DNA was stolen by a gang of scientists who created 20 more copycat zombies, and these replicas are now scattered across the globe. Dad plans to cash in by suing the boffins for £5 million. No sooner

Thoughtful and impeccable: Ken Burns’s Hemingway reviewed

Ken Burns made his name in 1990 with The Civil War, the justly celebrated 11-and-a-half-hour documentary series that gave America’s proudly niche PBS channel the biggest ratings in its history. Since then, he’s tackled several other big American subjects like jazz, Prohibition and Vietnam; and all without ever changing his style. In contrast to, say, Adam Curtis (another ambitious film-maker whose methods have remained unchanged for 30 years), Burns’s documentaries take an almost defiantly considered approach, forgoing anything resembling self-regarding flashiness in favour of such old-school techniques as knowledgeable talking heads, careful chronology and straightforwardly appropriate visuals. Hemingway, his new six-parter being shown on BBC4, duly fails to mark a