Great Expectations Reviews

  • Jan 25, 2021

    Great blobbering masterpiece!

    Great blobbering masterpiece!

  • Dec 01, 2020

    One of the few iconic examples of book-to-film adaptations that is also an early entry in cinematic auteur David Lean's filmography.

    One of the few iconic examples of book-to-film adaptations that is also an early entry in cinematic auteur David Lean's filmography.

  • Nov 17, 2020

    Of the 5,873 film adaptations of Dickens' classic novel, this one is by far the best.

    Of the 5,873 film adaptations of Dickens' classic novel, this one is by far the best.

  • Nov 08, 2020

    A great film? Sure, I can buy that. The best David Lean adaptation, or the best adaptation of the source material? Hard to say with full confidence, but I have my doubts. Highly competently made, with excellent casting and a knowledge of how to translate the spirit of Dickens' novel knowing that much of the nuance and detail would have to be culled in order to meet a reasonable running time. Naturally the writing is pretty top notch, being largely a direct adaptation of one of the greatest writers of English fiction, and the characters still are capable of sharp cruelty, sadness, and empathy. Still, there is much that lovers of the book will find lacking simply due to the necessity of cut content (I do miss the full characterization of Mr. Wemmick), and the film does have something of a fault in establishing Pip's infatuation with Estella convincingly. (4/5)

    A great film? Sure, I can buy that. The best David Lean adaptation, or the best adaptation of the source material? Hard to say with full confidence, but I have my doubts. Highly competently made, with excellent casting and a knowledge of how to translate the spirit of Dickens' novel knowing that much of the nuance and detail would have to be culled in order to meet a reasonable running time. Naturally the writing is pretty top notch, being largely a direct adaptation of one of the greatest writers of English fiction, and the characters still are capable of sharp cruelty, sadness, and empathy. Still, there is much that lovers of the book will find lacking simply due to the necessity of cut content (I do miss the full characterization of Mr. Wemmick), and the film does have something of a fault in establishing Pip's infatuation with Estella convincingly. (4/5)

  • Sep 24, 2020

    I know we were supposed to read Great Expectations back when I was in school, but I had a bad English teacher that had a predictable way of testing us, so I would often avoid actually reading things that were required and still ace the tests. It wasn’t until later in life that I actually developed some interest in reading for recreation, and I never returned to the books I was assigned in school (probably because my subconscious still tells me that required reading is boring.) As a result, the only thing I remembered about the book before watching the film was the first scene. This film version does a wonderful job of telling the story of young Pip and his journey from boyhood to manhood, and is enough to get me interested in going back to read Dickens’ book. I always think that’s one of the best compliments I can give to a movie based on a book, when I am so intrigued by the story they presented that I want to explore it in written form as well. Pip’s journey through Great Expectations is handled quite well, and I appreciated the honest assessment he made of himself when recognizing his own shortcomings in retrospect. There’s a lot to be learned from his example of how we think of our status and can look down on those who are not as cultured as ourselves. The cast all do a great job with the film, bringing the characters to life rather than just feeling like cardboard cut-out versions of the pre-existing characters from the book. It seems like there is a great deal of the plot devoted to the mysterious benefactor question, and I’m not sure if we are supposed to be puzzled as well. All I know is that, because of the way the story is developed, it is fairly obvious to the audience who it will be. While I can understand the character’s bewilderment, I was never surprised. Whatever the intentions may have been, Great Expectations still makes for a charming film, and I’m glad I finally know the rest of the story.

    I know we were supposed to read Great Expectations back when I was in school, but I had a bad English teacher that had a predictable way of testing us, so I would often avoid actually reading things that were required and still ace the tests. It wasn’t until later in life that I actually developed some interest in reading for recreation, and I never returned to the books I was assigned in school (probably because my subconscious still tells me that required reading is boring.) As a result, the only thing I remembered about the book before watching the film was the first scene. This film version does a wonderful job of telling the story of young Pip and his journey from boyhood to manhood, and is enough to get me interested in going back to read Dickens’ book. I always think that’s one of the best compliments I can give to a movie based on a book, when I am so intrigued by the story they presented that I want to explore it in written form as well. Pip’s journey through Great Expectations is handled quite well, and I appreciated the honest assessment he made of himself when recognizing his own shortcomings in retrospect. There’s a lot to be learned from his example of how we think of our status and can look down on those who are not as cultured as ourselves. The cast all do a great job with the film, bringing the characters to life rather than just feeling like cardboard cut-out versions of the pre-existing characters from the book. It seems like there is a great deal of the plot devoted to the mysterious benefactor question, and I’m not sure if we are supposed to be puzzled as well. All I know is that, because of the way the story is developed, it is fairly obvious to the audience who it will be. While I can understand the character’s bewilderment, I was never surprised. Whatever the intentions may have been, Great Expectations still makes for a charming film, and I’m glad I finally know the rest of the story.

  • Sep 22, 2020

    A classic that holds up under the test of time - just fabulous! While this version of "Great Expectations" is somewhat abbreviated with not nearly as much color as is found in the novel, at just under 2 hours it flies by as you are transported back to Dickensian England. The story and plot are of course is a classic that is brought to life by great directing, fantastic scenery (oh, those marshes and the graveyard at the beginning!) and stellar acting - all are exceptional with a standout being Martita Hunt as the ghostly, broken and bitter Miss Havisham. A must see film at least once in your life!

    A classic that holds up under the test of time - just fabulous! While this version of "Great Expectations" is somewhat abbreviated with not nearly as much color as is found in the novel, at just under 2 hours it flies by as you are transported back to Dickensian England. The story and plot are of course is a classic that is brought to life by great directing, fantastic scenery (oh, those marshes and the graveyard at the beginning!) and stellar acting - all are exceptional with a standout being Martita Hunt as the ghostly, broken and bitter Miss Havisham. A must see film at least once in your life!

  • Sep 21, 2020

    David Lean without a doubt understands composition and imagery. That marsh area and the cemetery really look like interesting and beautiful place. Lean really knows how to pick a location. Great atmosphere as well. I swear, I don't understand why David Lean never made a horror movie. It would have been amazing. The escaped convict in the cemetery was a creep holding the boy up and shaking him around like that. But I guess those were different times. God**mn! Pip's sister is bossy and quite the c**t. Wow that shot with the soldiers going over the hill in the foreground and the sunrise in the background was iconic. I can see how other directors could have been inspired by this shot alone. Jesus Christ, what a huge and lavish mansion. Wow, I feel kind of bad for pip being put through that whole ordeal with the weird rich woman Havisham and her b**chy daughter. Her daughter is pretty though. I guess he's just being groomed to be a man. So crazy how he went from rags to riches and now that he lives the gentlemen's lifestyle, he now acts as such - like a snob. This whole thing seems like kind of a pretentious and fake way to live your life. Holy s**t, I was not expecting the convict that razzed him in the cemetery to be the one who gave Pip the $500. Jesus Christ, what a series of unfortunate events for Pip. He should've just stayed being a blacksmith in the marshes. Now he's all caught up with these rich weirdos who don't really care about him. Holy s**t, that escalated quickly. Miss Havisham catching on fire and Pip having to tear the whole room apart to put the fire out. I was not expecting that. The big ship scene was intense with the steam boat. It's sooo crazy how Estella fell into the same trap as her adopted mother Havisham. When she sat in her chair, I knew. I didn't think it was going to have a happy ending. I honestly thought that it was going to end with Estella following the same footsteps as Havisham and being miserable for the rest of her life. But Pip came tore down the curtains, shined some sunlight into her life, and broke the curse saving Estella from everlasting misery. A fantastic movie adaptation. Lean really hit it out of the park with this one. The acting was superb and the dialogue was very sharp and quick. The only problem I have with this movie is that I wish I'd been able to see it in better higher quality. This movie had surprising elements of tension. It's quite the intense drama and feels all too real, almost nightmarish at times because of how real it is. But overall, an excellent movie. It fully captivated my attention and I felt emotionally invested in these people's lives. I'd watch this movie again.

    David Lean without a doubt understands composition and imagery. That marsh area and the cemetery really look like interesting and beautiful place. Lean really knows how to pick a location. Great atmosphere as well. I swear, I don't understand why David Lean never made a horror movie. It would have been amazing. The escaped convict in the cemetery was a creep holding the boy up and shaking him around like that. But I guess those were different times. God**mn! Pip's sister is bossy and quite the c**t. Wow that shot with the soldiers going over the hill in the foreground and the sunrise in the background was iconic. I can see how other directors could have been inspired by this shot alone. Jesus Christ, what a huge and lavish mansion. Wow, I feel kind of bad for pip being put through that whole ordeal with the weird rich woman Havisham and her b**chy daughter. Her daughter is pretty though. I guess he's just being groomed to be a man. So crazy how he went from rags to riches and now that he lives the gentlemen's lifestyle, he now acts as such - like a snob. This whole thing seems like kind of a pretentious and fake way to live your life. Holy s**t, I was not expecting the convict that razzed him in the cemetery to be the one who gave Pip the $500. Jesus Christ, what a series of unfortunate events for Pip. He should've just stayed being a blacksmith in the marshes. Now he's all caught up with these rich weirdos who don't really care about him. Holy s**t, that escalated quickly. Miss Havisham catching on fire and Pip having to tear the whole room apart to put the fire out. I was not expecting that. The big ship scene was intense with the steam boat. It's sooo crazy how Estella fell into the same trap as her adopted mother Havisham. When she sat in her chair, I knew. I didn't think it was going to have a happy ending. I honestly thought that it was going to end with Estella following the same footsteps as Havisham and being miserable for the rest of her life. But Pip came tore down the curtains, shined some sunlight into her life, and broke the curse saving Estella from everlasting misery. A fantastic movie adaptation. Lean really hit it out of the park with this one. The acting was superb and the dialogue was very sharp and quick. The only problem I have with this movie is that I wish I'd been able to see it in better higher quality. This movie had surprising elements of tension. It's quite the intense drama and feels all too real, almost nightmarish at times because of how real it is. But overall, an excellent movie. It fully captivated my attention and I felt emotionally invested in these people's lives. I'd watch this movie again.

  • Jul 22, 2020

    Solid adaptation of one of the greatest books of all time.

    Solid adaptation of one of the greatest books of all time.

  • Dec 03, 2019

    My reaction to most of David Lean's output has been tepid as he can appreciate his abilities as a technical filmmaker but I often find the stories he focuses on portentous and emotionally un-engaging. I had been told that his earlier work was more based around exploring characters and didn't boast the ridiculous running times and occasional lack of substance that his later work featured. As far as my experience of this film went I have to say that I am officially converted as this is a wonderful film that manages to translate a complex book from the famed Charles Dickens to screen without losing any of the social commentary or bizarre tensions between the classes. With my enjoyment of this film I will be seeking out Brief Encounter (1945) and Summertime (1955) in the future. Orphaned as a child Pip Pirrip, Anthony Wager, is raised by his abusive sister, Freda Jackson, and her husband Joe Gargey, Bernard Miles, in poverty. One day he is shocked to find an escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, Finlay Currie, and is pressured into finding the man food and a file that will help him break his chains. He brings the man a meat pie that his sister had bought and he is grateful but Magwitch is discovered and taken away by the police. Shortly afterwards Pirrip is summoned to the derelict house of wealthy heiress Miss Havisham, Martita Hunt, who has trained her adopted daughter Estella, Jean Simmons, to make men fall in love with her and then not love them back to get revenge on her former fiancé who broke up with her before their wedding. Predictably Pirrip does fall in love with Estella but his affections are not returned and when he learns that he has come into a fortune and will become a respectable gentlemen he leaves them to go to London. What the story is primarily about, in my view, is the negative influence that parental figures can have as Estella has become emotionally frigid due to the influence of Havisham and Pirrip is confused by his lack of guidance. Estella is often a controversial figure, even among fans of the novel, as she icy and untouchable yet the man we have placed all of our sympathies in nonsensically continues to pursue a woman he can never have. We struggle to get into her mind, as Pirrip does, and find her coldness maddening but the great tragedy of her abusive childhood which she accepts as an unchangeable fact is represented well here. Lean's Havisham is a woman who is less of a star than she is in other adaptations as we see the viselike grip she has on a weak young Pirrip purely because of her wealth and finally witness him view her as the sad, bitter little woman she really is. Pirrip's odd bond with Magwitch is also fascinating to dissect as while we know the old man is mentally deranged and could never be a real father to Pirrip the actions he has taken to provide him with security are touching and he has loved him in a way that nobody else in his life has. He brings much needed enthusiasm and warmth into the film, in the process breaking down Pirrip's pretensions about class, and Pirrip's attempts to help him escape provide some of the most touching moments in the film as the men reach across class divides to pursue their own goals. Perhaps Dickens bookended the whole thing a little too neatly by making Estella Magwitch's daughter but one cannot help but be moved by Pirrip easing his father figure's pain as he dies. Lean was intelligent to make this the focus of the story as it makes a far more compelling conflict than the romance between Estella and Pirrip which has a definite purpose but is hardly gripping material. Lean is of course one of the great technical directors and this film does benefit from that as the set design, costumes and cinematography are all top notch and for the time the film has an uncommon realism. Guy Green deservedly won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and the film as a whole should have won Best Picture in 1947.

    My reaction to most of David Lean's output has been tepid as he can appreciate his abilities as a technical filmmaker but I often find the stories he focuses on portentous and emotionally un-engaging. I had been told that his earlier work was more based around exploring characters and didn't boast the ridiculous running times and occasional lack of substance that his later work featured. As far as my experience of this film went I have to say that I am officially converted as this is a wonderful film that manages to translate a complex book from the famed Charles Dickens to screen without losing any of the social commentary or bizarre tensions between the classes. With my enjoyment of this film I will be seeking out Brief Encounter (1945) and Summertime (1955) in the future. Orphaned as a child Pip Pirrip, Anthony Wager, is raised by his abusive sister, Freda Jackson, and her husband Joe Gargey, Bernard Miles, in poverty. One day he is shocked to find an escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, Finlay Currie, and is pressured into finding the man food and a file that will help him break his chains. He brings the man a meat pie that his sister had bought and he is grateful but Magwitch is discovered and taken away by the police. Shortly afterwards Pirrip is summoned to the derelict house of wealthy heiress Miss Havisham, Martita Hunt, who has trained her adopted daughter Estella, Jean Simmons, to make men fall in love with her and then not love them back to get revenge on her former fiancé who broke up with her before their wedding. Predictably Pirrip does fall in love with Estella but his affections are not returned and when he learns that he has come into a fortune and will become a respectable gentlemen he leaves them to go to London. What the story is primarily about, in my view, is the negative influence that parental figures can have as Estella has become emotionally frigid due to the influence of Havisham and Pirrip is confused by his lack of guidance. Estella is often a controversial figure, even among fans of the novel, as she icy and untouchable yet the man we have placed all of our sympathies in nonsensically continues to pursue a woman he can never have. We struggle to get into her mind, as Pirrip does, and find her coldness maddening but the great tragedy of her abusive childhood which she accepts as an unchangeable fact is represented well here. Lean's Havisham is a woman who is less of a star than she is in other adaptations as we see the viselike grip she has on a weak young Pirrip purely because of her wealth and finally witness him view her as the sad, bitter little woman she really is. Pirrip's odd bond with Magwitch is also fascinating to dissect as while we know the old man is mentally deranged and could never be a real father to Pirrip the actions he has taken to provide him with security are touching and he has loved him in a way that nobody else in his life has. He brings much needed enthusiasm and warmth into the film, in the process breaking down Pirrip's pretensions about class, and Pirrip's attempts to help him escape provide some of the most touching moments in the film as the men reach across class divides to pursue their own goals. Perhaps Dickens bookended the whole thing a little too neatly by making Estella Magwitch's daughter but one cannot help but be moved by Pirrip easing his father figure's pain as he dies. Lean was intelligent to make this the focus of the story as it makes a far more compelling conflict than the romance between Estella and Pirrip which has a definite purpose but is hardly gripping material. Lean is of course one of the great technical directors and this film does benefit from that as the set design, costumes and cinematography are all top notch and for the time the film has an uncommon realism. Guy Green deservedly won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and the film as a whole should have won Best Picture in 1947.

  • Nov 27, 2019

    A sensory delight, Lean's adaptation of Great Expectations races along and is only let down by its overly sentimental climax.

    A sensory delight, Lean's adaptation of Great Expectations races along and is only let down by its overly sentimental climax.