opinions I may not always agree with, but do trust curiosity made me to step inside this latest adaptation.
with his stern sister and her kind-hearted blacksmith husband, Joe (Shaun
Dooley). Following an odd encounter with an escaped
convict named Magwitch (Ray Winstone) on a cold Christmas day. The mysterious recluse, Miss Havisham (Gillian Anderson) wishes for a young boy to come once a week
as a kind of playmate to her young impetuous adopted daughter.
Pip’s attendance of this request discovers a home shrouded in more than dust and shadows. But it’s to the young and beautiful Estella
that Pip loses his young heart to. The teenage beauty is nearly as cold
as her benefactor but the naïve Pip is drawn into their world. Wishing to create distance between her charge and Pip, Miss Havisham pays for his apprenticeship
to train in the trade of blacksmith.
man. Out of nowhere, a well-known
London attorney named Jaggers (David Suchet) informs Pip that a mysterious
benefactor has settled a fortune on him. There are stipulations: Including
never inquiring who his benefactor is until he reaches his majority. With prospects, Pip leaves
for London but he’s pulled back to Miss Havisham, and towards Estella (Vanessa Kirby) who returns
from finishing school in Paris.
FILM REVIEW | Great Expectations (2012) – A Star-Studded Dickens Drama
this. The opening frame – and beyond, of this miniseries is pure brilliance. It
puts every single one of our senses on alert. The filming and set creates a
dangerous, mysterious scene only intensified by the setting on the dark marsh land
with characters whose purpose and intent we do not yet understand. Naturally if
one is familiar with the book, you’ll recognize not only the players but
who they will become. If you are unfamiliar with the plot, much of this will seem crazy, but the strange thing about Dickens is that his novels are so
complex and mysterious no motivation is without intent.
far, this one is the best of the lot. Although I’ve not read the novel, a 3-hour miniseries is probably cutting a
lot of corners but the production is “complete” and authentic to its purpose. Pacing
comes across “off” or rushed a time or two but there should be an allowance for this. One thing production did not skimp on was its casting. The acting is
brilliant in this movie particularly from Gillian Anderson. She owns the role
of Miss Havisham. The character is a ghostly shell of a woman whose disappointment
has been allowed to rule her life manifested in misery. Her fragile passive-aggressive attitude
is a prison of her own making, instead of moving on and “being happy” as Pip
once tells her she could have been. Sometimes, when there is one domineering
performance, everyone else pales in comparison, that is fortunately not the
case here. Everyone holds their own including newcomers Booth and Kirby.
themes. Great Expectations exposes how deeply flawed human nature can
be. It reflects the sorrows, regrets and tragedies that comprise life. Anyone who has
experienced his works knows each are quirky at best, but innately
depressing where pure evil lives within the story. This production does not have the same “bite”
as prior movies. There aren’t the usual troubling shivers Dickens can sometimes
cause and fortunately, for the audience, despite its ending still being
ambiguous, and almost as if it were cut short, it will make romantics
sigh with pleasure. Combined with this romanticism, and breathtaking costuming, this film is a five-star stunner.
the novel or not is distinctively Dickens. Make no mistake.
been beaten with blood everywhere [twice], two others are strangled [one does
die], and another is stabbed. One scene takes place at a “club” in which men
can pick out a “lady of the evening” for a price [nothing graphic]; Pip is
mocked for being a virgin. There are some tense moments and a woman is nearly
murdered [off-screen]. Implications inform that a woman is beaten in her
marriage as there are bruises as evidence and another woman commits suicide by
lighting herself on fire.)