Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Great Expectation Movie Review

Subtitle : The Harry Potter Reunion
My lovely wife took me out to the movies last night.  And guess what she went to see with me?  Great Expectations.  This was after I dragged her to see Jane Eyre at the same little independent movie theater a few years back, so, yes, I'm the woman in the relationship when it comes to period piece movies.

I truly don't have the time to reread so many of the classics that I love every few years as I'd like to do, so when a well reviewed movie version comes out, I love to catch it and refresh my memory of all the indelible characters and timeless themes that make a classic, well, a classic.  This adaptation is very true to the source material, not one of those contemporary re-imaginings where the whole thing is done in rap verse or the guy is in the girl role or the girl is in the role of the dog or whatever.  This is crazy Miss (funny I almost put Mrs., and wouldn't she just hate that) Havisham, pitiable Pip, and ruined Estella just as you remember them from the novel.  I love Helena Bonham Carter as a crazy anything, and her portrayal of Miss Havisham was no exception.

Seeing the movie as a dad, I now felt especially sentimental about Pip and Joe's relationship and even Pip and Magwitch's.  They portrayed Estella in a more favorable light in this one than I remember her from the book, and for those who know the book, the movie follows the altered ending that I, personally, appreciate given all that Pip has to go through in life in getting to that point.   

Great Expectations is a sobering reminder of what a master storyteller can accomplish with multidimensional characters, rich atmosphere, true drama, and meaningful plot twists.  It's wonderful to realize that many of the same trials and tribulations that affected people over one hundred and fifty years ago still resonate today in how we feel about family, how we fall in love, and how we strive to become someone valuable in our own life and the lives of others. 

I had great expectations for Mike Newell's take on one of my favorite novels and I was not let down.