Great Expectations (2013)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Not the best version of the oft-filmed Dickens classic but far from the worst, Mike Newell's Great Expectations breathes just enough life into the source material to justify yet another adaptation.

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Movie Info

A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.
Rating:
PG-13 (for some violence including disturbing images)
Genre:
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Helena Bonham Carter
as Miss Havisham
Ralph Fiennes
as Magwitch
Jason Flemyng
as Joe Gargery
Robbie Coltrane
as Mr. Jaggers
Sally Hawkins
as Mrs. Joe
Ewen Bremner
as Wemmick
Ollie Alexander
as Herbert Pocket
David Walliams
as Mr. Pumblechook
Kate Hefferman
as Tripe Shop Proprietor
Toby Irvine
as Young Pip
Helena Barlow
as Young Estella
William Ellis
as Compeyson
Bernice Stegers
as Mrs. Hubble
Tim Freeman
as Mr. Wopsle
Alan Rushton
as Mr. Hubble
Sheila Simpson
as Mrs. Wopsle
Ralph Ineson
as Sergeant
Steve Morphew
as Soldier
Richard James
as Cousin Raymond
Roberta Burton
as Mrs. Raymond
Bebe Cave
as Young Biddy
Pooky Quesnel
as Sarah Pocket
Kate Lock
as Camilla Pocket
Charlie Callaghan
as Young Herbert
Daniel Weyman
as Arthur Havisham
Joe Jameson
as Bullfinch
Ben Lloyd-Hugues
as Bentley Drummle
Ben Lloyd-Hughes
as Bentley Drummle
Andrew Rowe
as Finch
Frank Dunne
as Aged P
Ruby Garvey
as Infant Estella
Peter Greed
as Porter
Gary Arthurs
as River Policeman
Ronnie Fox
as Bailiff One
Nick Bartlett
as Bailiff Two
Edward Flemyng
as Charles Pocket
David G. Robinson
as Smithfield Butcher
Richard James
as Cousin Raymond
Ewan Bremner
as Wemmick
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Critic Reviews for Great Expectations

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (22)

The crucial central roles go wanting.

Full Review… | November 14, 2013
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

It is skillfully made and adeptly performed; even so it doesn't really add anything to the canon.

Full Review… | November 10, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

This Great Expectations is an absorbing addition to the roster of Dickens films that continues our 21st-century fascination with the worlds created by a 19th-century storyteller.

Full Review… | November 8, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Director Mike Newell approaches the sprawling bildungsroman with a stiff formalism, sacrificing all cinematic excitement for the sake of exalting great performances.

Full Review… | November 8, 2013
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Honors the source while making some small but significant alterations.

November 8, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

It's not clear what this re-do adds except another line to these actors' resumes.

Full Review… | November 8, 2013
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Great Expectations

½

Not a bad version of one of my favorite stories. Helena Bonham Carter was made to play Ms. Haversham. One thing though -- I always imagined Stella to have dark hair.

Jason Robinson
Jason Robinson

Super Reviewer

½

Not being familiar with its source story, or the other numerous film adaptations, I went in to Great Expectations with no real notion of how the story would unfold. What I got was a period piece, to be sure, but one that was obviously based heavily on a literary source. It was a film of impressive scope and performed well, but a film that felt helplessly full, too many plot lines to follow, and too little time to adequately explore it. The basic premise of the story finds a young orphan suddenly finding himself with a mysterious benefactor, seemingly destined to become a gentleman, for inexplicable reasons. The novel, penned by Charles Dickens and published in the 1860s, is certainly a product of its time, with its unique social criticisms and rather quaint plot devices, along with an indulgence toward melodrama. Originally published as a serial, it would seem the narrative is more fitted toward a miniseries. As a stand-alone film, it simply feels cramped. The characterizations, though well acted, never really have any lift because they are never given the time to unfold organically. The narrative developments are never enthralling, and often confusing, being more concerned with hitting on the story's major plot points rather than creating its own self-contained story. This is not to say the film is without merit, there's plenty to admire but, in the end, it never establishes itself as an appealing film in its own right. 2.5/5 Stars

Jeffrey Meyers
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

A truth must be faced when dealing with an age-old tale like "Great Expectations", you cannot change Charles Dickens. No matter how much you want to make a current adaptation or a period piece that expands on the 1860's novel, if you were to tamper with the material, you would face a backlash that you'd never escape. But with that comes adaptations like Mike Newell's version of the well-known tale, that comes off very much like something we've seen before and that does not expand the world much more than we know it already. But as viewers, we must understand where the heart is coming from and either accept what we are witnessing or not. "Great Expectations" is my favorite Dickens novel, with such a profound love story at its base, that you cannot help but feel what these characters are feeling, and with such a struggle in play, your emotions run the proverbial gambit. What Mike Newell does realize he can control are the actors playing the well traversed characters and hope to deliver performances from these selected cast members that revitalize the retreaded story and breathe new life into the pages. In my personal opinion, Newell achieves this successfully, bringing old and new into the picture superbly. Helena Bonham Carter, although typecast in the role of crazy Miss Havisham, delivers on par with her predecessors and neither takes away from nor necessarily adds anything to the role. Her known grace is apparent and we appreciate it. Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch also carries a well known weight and amps up the performance level for this character's portrayal as well. The real star of the show, however, is newcomer Holliday Grainger ("The Borgias"), as Estella, the iconic female character with a heart of ice, leading on poor Pip under the advisement of Miss Havisham. Grainger is first of all visually stunning, especially in the extravagant dresses. Also, her deliveries are breathtaking, stealing your heart, yet dashing your hopes in all the best of ways. Of people that have played the role before her, none have quite captured the innocence that Grainger delivers, as she highlights the best portions of the film and truly keeps the viewer wanting more. Sadly, the same cannot be said for lead Jeremy Irvine, who never quite convinces as Pip and although eventually looks the part of a gentlemen, remains uncomfortable in his own skin as an actor. Along with some unexpected turns from Sally Hawkins, Jason Flemyng, Robbie Coltrane, Ewen Bremner, and Ollie Alexander, you're able to overlook the unfortunate Pip casting and breath in this newly minted Dickens adaption. With a huge career ahead of her, Grainger has inspired me to follow her future work and with that makes "Great Expectations" one of my favorite period pieces this year, hopefully catching the eye of at least a few Academy members by the year's end.

Christopher Haskell
Christopher Haskell

Super Reviewer

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