If, like me, you haven’t read the novel or seen any of the previous eight film adaptions, there’s no need to worry; director Mike Newell’s latest has got us covered. This tale of ‘great expectations’ finds storytelling as vital as the intertwining relationships the characters continually find themselves in.
Phillip Pirrip aka ‘Pip’ (eventually played by Jeremy Irvine) is a young working-class orphan who on Christmas Eve comes across and provides food for an escaped convict (Ralph Fiennes), who is recaptured shortly afterwards. Sometime later, Miss Havisham (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks a playfellow for her daughter Estella ( Holliday Grainger). When Pip fits the bill and sees Estella for the first time he instantly falls in love with her and spends his young and adult life trying to gain the affections of his beloved.
Set in the 19th century, expect hard labour, extravagant English accents and surprisingly stylish costumes. Be it the disorderly behaved ‘gentlemen’ or Pip’s undercover peeping at Estella, the film definitely has its share of amusing and serious moments with themes ranging from conflict and belonging to status and love.
Apart from some general kissing and one slightly disturbing scene this is a great way to introduce the whole family to the world of Charles Dickens. That said, there are a few drawbacks. At 2 hours and 8 minutes some people may find this film a tad long. For this reason, there are times where you may want everyone to ‘get on with it’ but these events aren’t often.
Also, some characters could have been fleshed out a bit more. Nevertheless, such a heart-warming and heart-wrenching experience is a perfect treat for the Christmas period.
If you do decide to attend, make sure you arrive on time or else you might begin Pip’s ‘coming-of-age’ on a slightly confused note.