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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.67%
Worth A Look: 11.9%
Pretty Bad23.81%
Total Crap23.81%

3 reviews, 24 user ratings

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Great Expectations (1998)
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by Filmink Magazine (owes us money)

"unhinged by its romantic premise and some doubtful plot twists"
3 stars

Updating the classics for the kids is not always a great idea.

Sometimes plot developments that seem acceptable when they're done-up in period drag don't quite wash in a modern setting. Mexican director Cuaron brings us a more than acceptable rendering of the Dickens classic, but suffers at the hands of the book's more fanciful elements.

Finn (Hawke, at various points sporting a wig, a moustache and the trademark goatee) is a wannabe artist living with his fisherman uncle (Cooper) who finds himself caught in the cross hairs of a crazy, man hating loon (Bancroft, doing her best Sunset Boulevard impersonation) and her stuck up, cock-tease niece Estella (Paltrow, who is starting to show the signs of an eating disorder).

An enigmatic convict (De Niro doing his best De Niro) further thickens the plot. While Hawke's character is an engaging hero, it's hard to believe that he could be so attracted to a rude, bony arsed snob like Paltrow. This central flaw weakens the film, making the entire premise a little wobbly.

It becomes impossible to support Hawke's quest for love when the object of it is such an unpleasant being. The director obviously can, because he indulges in so many tedious "tasteful" nude scenes with the actress. It only takes so long before watching a scrawny superstar drag her bare arse around becomes very boring.

These gripes aside, Great Expectations is still a stirring, involving film. The relationship between Finn and his uncle (played by the always excellent Cooper from Lone Star) gives it a sense of soul and feeling, and the lingering presence of De Niro adds a brooding air of unease.

Visually, the film is absolutely stunning, painting gorgeous images of Florida and New York. The wonderful artwork of Francesco Clemente (doubling for Finn's) adds to the visual beauty. Involving and pleasing to the eye, Great Expectations only becomes unhinged by its romantic premise and some doubtful plot twists.

A good film that would have been better if they had left it in the past. ---Erin Free

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originally posted: 08/26/98 13:49:52
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User Comments

1/09/09 Anonymous. gwyneth paltrow was bad casting, too tall next to ethan hawke. 4 stars
11/12/06 Katrina The orginal is so much better 3 stars
8/14/06 Tan If you get the style, you will LOVE it. Best seen without reading Dickens' previously. 5 stars
8/24/05 Danny It was pretty good - Hawke is a really good actor. Paltrow sucks. 3 stars
7/23/04 Shaz It DOES state it's loosely based on original, Amazing movie, beautiful & unique cinematog. 5 stars
5/29/04 mairy a film not worth seen 2 stars
1/17/04 LIAM JACKSON de niro's characer was fucking odd 2 stars
9/02/03 Eugene Wong The story line is great 5 stars
4/15/03 Jack Bourbon Hawke's scribblings worse than Viggo Morentsen's (A Perfect Murder) Gorilla-Brush technique 1 stars
3/23/03 Gina Grant The Best Movie EVER! 5 stars
2/10/03 R.W. Welch Update of Dickens works fairly well but has weak spots. Nice cinematography. 3 stars
10/20/01 Tam Interesting and artsy, but not brilliant. Gwyneth Paltrow is sultry & dead sexy ;-) 4 stars
5/10/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) I've seen roadkill prettier than Gwyneth Paltrow. 3 stars
12/03/00 scott wahls agree totally with kanatcha, so it was a loose adaption, it hit me where it hurt baby 5 stars
11/22/00 Pionek Wieczysty Rings agonizingly true for the hoplessly infatuated. 5 stars
3/25/00 Helen Tracey romantic but bollocks 2 stars
4/20/99 Fox Moldie You go in the movie with great expectations..But..come out with low expectation. 1 stars
2/26/99 Elizabeth Gwyneth Paltrow kicks ass. 4 stars
2/19/99 Piz Smooth flowing movie, very engaging, great for anyone who has ever been scorned. 4 stars
2/03/99 Michelle Me Belle Worst movie Ive evere seen, comming from me thats BAD! Gweneth needs a bullet...soon! 1 stars
1/07/99 Jo Mama call me a sissy-boy, but i found it touching and sad. (Plus I have a hard-on for Gwenyth) 4 stars
9/12/98 kanatcha some people just dont get it i guess 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball I didn't have great expectations for this. Love it when I'm right. 1 stars
8/15/98 {{{OZ}}} It's Ethan Hawke. It's gotta be shite. Can't he grow a decent beard? 2 stars
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  30-Jan-1998 (R)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2005



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