Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Holliday Grainger, Robbie Coltrane

Director: Mike Newell

Rating: 4/5

Great Expectations is a story that has been told dozens of times on the big and small screen over the years.

This week sees Mike Newell’s interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic hit the big screen and it is a fabulous retelling of this well known tale.

The movie follows Pip, an orphan from humble beginnings, as he is suddenly finds himself in London living the life of a gentleman all thanks to a mystery benefactor.

Jeremy Irvine has had quite a year and he is set to end it in style as he gives a great central performance as Pip - a young man who is desperate to be a gentleman and yet someone who really has a heart.

He really is developing into a confident actor and he is beginning to develop a real presence when he is on the screen and he really does depict this character well.

However it is Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes who really steal they show as they deliver incredibly vivid depictions of Miss Havisham and Magwitch.

It is perhaps not so surprising that these incredibly experienced actors may produce the best performances but they really are terrific.

Helena Bonham Carter was born to play the role of Miss Havisham and she does so with a real eccentricity but without ever taking it too far.

The scenes between her and Pip really are some of the best in the movie as she warms to the young man throughout the film - the final scene between the pair is a highlight of the film.

Similarly you couldn’t see anyone else playing Magwitch except Fiennes as he is a murderer with a softer side.

It is the acting that really drives this move forward as Holliday Grainger is great as the cold hearted Estella while Jason Flemyng is also fantastic as Pip’s brother in law Joe - Flemyng and Irvine have a really good connection and it is great to see how this relationships develops, deteriorates and it renewed.

But Newell has also brought this period to life as London looks simply fantastic and there is something very real about it.

The main problem with this movie is we have seen it all before and while Newell does tell an engaging story and the central performances are terrific it just lacks that freshness.

You go in knowing exactly what you are going to get, yes it is delivered with a real panache, but it does little to surprise, however it is an adaptation that I really enjoyed and that is mainly because of the terrific cast.

Great Expectations is out now

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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