The film is divided into two parts as the film follows a young Cathy and Heathcliff and how their relationship blossomed. The film eventually transcends to an older Cathy and Heathcliff, and the aftermath of their separation. The division of the film shows the contrast between the two sets of characters. The interaction between young Cathy and Heathcliff were minimal. They were mostly together but their conversations were limited. Instead, the development of their friendship was shown through physical means - not explicitly touching of any sort, but their being together was simply enough. As they grew up, they both knew they were leaving things unsaid; we're left to decipher the glances and the actions but the message isn't subtle - they do like each other.
The verbal manifestation of these feelings come in the latter half of the film, where we meet an adult Heathcliff coming back, refined and with pockets full. We also meet Cathy as a married woman, living comfortably in a new home. They don't daly and deliver their messages - the hurt of being left behind, not choosing one another, unresolved issues they had regarding about what could have been a great relationship between the two. Unlike the first half where there were a lot of scenery and very little things said, this half pushed everything out, every gut wrenching emotion required from the characters.
The contrast between the two parts are clear in Arnold's adaptation - a friendship blossoming in a serene setting versus personal regrets in a more chaotic setting. Considering that I don't know much about the story, this probably shouldn't have been the first adaptation I started with. Nonetheless, it's different from the traditional format in so many ways.