Critic Reviews



Based on 23 critic reviews provided by
Village Voice
Newell's film doesn't supplant Lean's, of course. The yearning is more vague, the gloom less consummate. But it's the best since, rich in feeling and dark beauty, alive with the superior scenecraft, chatter, and imagination of the most beloved of novelists.
Vivid characterizations from Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter are the highlights of Mike Newell's traditional retelling of the classic Dickens novel.
If your own expectations are not too high, you crave period-costume drama and you’re one of those unfortunate people who refuses to watch anything in glorious black-and-white, this Great Expectations is worth the time and effort.
Big vistas and big names can’t compensate for the film’s necessity to cram Dickens’ rich, sprawling set of characters and twisty subplots into a two-hour film.
The Guardian
A watchable and accessible revival, though not groundbreaking, and not quite matching the story's passionate fear and rapture.
Time Out London
What marks out director Mike Newell and writer David Nicholls’s version is its impeccable acting.
It’s handsome, involving and stars the cream of British acting talent — but so did Lean’s unbeatable version, and Newell and Nicholls’ safe, schoolteacher-friendly interpretation makes no real case for going down this much-travelled road once more.
Working from a tightly compressed screenplay by David Nicholls, director Mike Newell strikes the beats of a deservedly oft-told tale with dour competence but little in the way of dramatic inspiration or visual flair.
Time Out
Once Pip reaches the big city, Newell starts losing the dramatic focus, piling on incidents and revelations with a bombastic force that makes it seem as if we’re watching a cheap 19th-century telenovela.
It’s less an adaptation than a recapitulation.

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