Great Expectations

  • 12
  • Mike Newell (2012)
  • UK / US
  • 123 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

Ralph Fiennes (as escaped prisoner Magwitch) and Helena Bonham Carter (as bitter old spinster Miss Havisham) provide the high spots in this grim and cheerless adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. Each has a hand in shaping the future of orphan Pip, who's beaten by his sister (Sally Hawkins) and only has her kindly but ineffectual husband (Jason Flemyng) to look up to. But Pip (played as a grown-up by War Horse's Jeremy Irvine) is given the chance to better himself after a trust fund is opened in his name by a mysterious benefactor. He is also able to present himself to Estella (Holliday Grainger), Miss Havisham's ward, who has always kept him at a distance. But Irvine plays Pip as all innocence, and so his scenes with Grainger have no pulse. Director Mike Newell drains every bit of colour to affect an ominous mood, but this also drains the movie's life, making the dark obsession at the heart of the story fall flat. And all final hopes and expectations are dashed by a bungled ending.

Plot Summary

Adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens period drama from BBC Films, starring Jeremy Irvine, Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter. When humble, young orphan Pip has a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict on the Kent marshes, it's the start of a journey that will change his life and see him become a gentleman thanks to a mysterious benefactor.

Cast and crew


Jeremy Irvine
Miss Havisham
Helena Bonham Carter
Ralph Fiennes
Robbie Coltrane
Joe Gargery
Jason Flemyng
Herbert Pocket
Olly Alexander
Holliday Grainger
Uncle Pumblechook
David Walliams
Tamzin Outhwaite
Mrs Joe
Sally Hawkins
Ewen Bremner
Young Pip
Toby Irvine
Young Estella
Helena Barlow


Mike Newell

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Lionsgate UK
Some violence, brief swearing.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 30 Nov 2012
Certificate 12