Howdy people and welcome to another review, today’s film was one I heard a fair deal about online but wasn’t really interested in until I found myself at the cinema needing something to watch in my spare time. So I went into Great Expectations with no expectations and no knowledge of what I was in for and in the end the film ended up being very nice, but not mind-blowing.
The premise for the film involves a humble orphan named Pip who suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor. The film has a very interesting story to tell, not only with its central story about Pip, but also the people around him. The people he meets along his journey from childhood all have interlocking storylines and it’s surprising to see the way in which they come together and cross over. Most of the characters have relevance to the plot and it was nice to watch. I thought that film’s themes of love, betrayal, happiness and despair was displayed very well and I also loved the dialogue, it was well-written and made for some great monologues. There were moments where the film did slow down and its focus on certain areas of Pip’s gentlemen lifestyle was a little boring to watch, I was only mainly interested in the story surrounding Pip and Estella, and thankfully that key element works well.
Now let’s talk about the characters of the film starting with Jeremy Irvine as Pip. I thought he was pretty good; I liked how he portrayed the change in his personality from being a poor man to being a gentlemen. He handled the role well, though there were moments where I found his character really annoying and whiny because of his actions after becoming gentlemen. Holliday Grainger as Estella was great and I love how she came across as this beautiful woman who devoid any emotion because of the way in which she was brought up. There was a lot of mystery behind her character and it was interesting to see her want to return Pip’s feelings of love, but couldn’t. I have to say that I really liked Pip and Estella more as kids than their adult years if only because of their budding relationship and lack of complexity when compared to their adult counterparts, thankfully Toby Irvine and Helena Barlow do well as the young version of Pip and Estella.
And there’s Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, I thought she was lovely as this strange, older woman left in seclusion who interacts with Pip and Estella. I thought Bonham Carter’s performance was intriguing, engaging and at times quite humorous too. It was interesting to learn of her back story and how it made her who she is and how that in turn effected how she brought up Estella. Ralph Fiennes as usual turns a great performance as Magwitch. His character had one of the best introductions to a film I’ve seen for a while and I liked how his character linked into the plot and how he was connected to Pip. Fiennes accent in this film was probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve heard him use, and while this wasn’t my favourite film I’ve seen him in I still enjoyed his performance. Also Robbie Coltrane was pretty good as Mr. Jaggers, I found him to be mysterious and partially untrustworthy even when he was helping Pip with his gentlemen lifestyle, Coltrane played the role well and I liked his role in the film.
The presentation of Great Expectations was pretty nice, I liked the camera shots used and the use of colour looked washed out, mundane and dark look to it which made the film feel eerie and mysterious. Also the soundtrack was decent too, nothing too memorable but worked in key scenes between the main characters. Now in the reviews that I read there’s been a number of comparisons between this film and the BBC TV serial that came out last year. Most critics say that the TV version is superior to this film; even my sister said that she’d seen the TV version and loved it. Since coming to uni I don’t really watch TV because I don’t have one, so I can’t compare the two versions of Great Expectations, however I can see that this film is missing that special dramatic element that would have elevated it to a magical level.
In conclusion Great Expectations was a great film with solid performances, a strong story and wonderfully powerful themes throughout. The film really shows how powerful love is, how it corrupts people and how far some will go for the people they care for. Unfortunately it didn’t reach that heartfelt level I had hoped it would, Silver Linings Playbook touched my heart and I had hoped that this film would do the same, but it was held back by a slow story, a little bit of annoying moments and missing that “special” element. Though I still think this is worth a watch.
That’s another review sorted, leave me some comments about the film in the box below and I’ll see ya on the next review. 🙂