Flash Movie Review: Great Expectations

Real magic is something I find when reading a book. The author is the mapmaker while I travel along the route they laid out before me. The magic begins in my imagination when the printed words (yes, from a book that is in my hands) gently soak into my eyes. When I read the word “villa” I conjure up a sprawling terra cotta structure, guarded by tall majestic trees with long green arthritic arms stretched out trying to hold hands with each other. A character in the story can mention a musical instrument and I will hear it playing in my mind. Some of you already know I prefer seeing the movie first then reading the book afterwards. The reason being I usually find the book better than the film. My imagination paints such a vivid picture of what I am reading; it is hard for a director to recreate what I have already seen. Since I have read this classic Charles Dickens story and seen the previous film versions of it, I will review this movie as if it is the first time I am seeing the story on film. The story revolved around a young orphan named Pip, played by newcomer Toby Irvine and Jeremy Irvine (War Horse, Now is Good). Partially motivated by his attraction to Miss Havisham’s, played by Helena Bonham Carter (Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger), adopted daughter Estella, played by Holliday Grainger (Jane Eyre, Anna Karenia); Pip diligently struggled to become a respectful fine gentleman, worthy of Estella’s affection. The two stand out performances in this dramatic romance came from Ralph Fiennes (The Duchess, Skyfall) as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter. The rest of the cast was not bad; they just did not stand out compared to these two. I thought the cinematography was wonderful, both indoor and outdoor scenes were richly detailed. The issue I had with this film festival winner was how dry and disengaged everything seemed. There was not much life in this movie; I found my mind wandering through portions of it. There was not as much drama as one would imagine with a Charles Dickens story. So with everything I have just said; if I now compare this version to the ones that came before, this was a pretty movie to watch that did not have much to show for it.


2 1/3 stars


About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on November 15, 2013, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Like you, I always think the books are so much better and I loved reading Great Expectations. I might have been lured to see this movie, but now I am not so sure. I love drama in a movie–I don’t want to find myself wandering away during a movie, Thanks for the review!

  2. Disappointing. Such a great novel deserves something more lively to represent it on film. Have you seen the two-part film version of Little Dorrit that came out about 20 years ago (Derek Jacobi heads the cast)? That one was fascinating to me, in part because, in deference to the length and depth of Dickens’ novel, they had devoted two whole films, but also in part because each of the films told the entire story. Quite the twist on the usual approach, but it was ultimately done so that the story could be told first from one character’s point of view and then from another’s. Not the usual Hollywood version by a long shot!

    • Hello, no I did not see Little Dorrit. What you said about it interests me, so I will look into seeing it sometime after the Oscar season. Thanks for coming by to leave your comments.

  3. I also feel it is difficult to see a movie after I have read the book, with the exception of Harry Potter-amazingly accurate-but I have to interject that while this particular Dickens story is a classic and very intricate, I actually found myself somewhat bored (or disappointed) with some of the characters even in the story. So cold, so uninvolved. It lacked the warmth and humor of A Christmas Carol. Perhaps timing was key as I was fourteen when I read it, an age when I should have identified with the young people in the book, which I somehow could not. Thanks for the heads up on the movie..

    • We are on the same page (pun intended) with the Harry Potter films. You make an excellent point about the coldness of this Dickens story and the age factor, which had not occurred to me. Thank you for your thoughts and comments, I appreciate it.

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