Great Expectations

Today I watched Great Expectations, directed by David Lean in 1946. It seems like every positive review of this focuses on how great of an adaption the movie is. Even Ebert brings up the fact that it is mostly great because it's so well adapted. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I've never read the Charles Dicken's novel. I honestly have only read like, Oliver Twist, in high school, and I don't remember liking it. It feels dumb to talk about how I've never read anything by an incredibly famous author, but here you go.

So, with that in mind, I didn't really like today's movie, at all. It felt like it was six hours long, even though it was only two. I didn't care about the characters. I didn't like the plot. The way everyone talked just irritated me. I did not like Pip's large bow ties.
Since we are taught to, yunno, try to say something nice about things, I will say that Miss Havisham was an incredible part of the film. She is an old woman who sits in her dark, musty home, wearing a wedding dress. She has sat there, her wedding cake rotting, her feast laid out in front of her, since the day her husband-to-be left her. She is so creepy and insane, and I loved all of the scenes with her. The cobweb covered set that she sits in is just awesome, and very atmospheric.

Other than that, I am not so into this movie. Little Pip meets Estella in the house, who has been raised by Miss Havisham to "break men's hearts." Oh, women! This is sort of stupid, I think. Pip of course falls in love with Estella even though she just yells at him all the time. For the rest of the movie, Pip loves Estella, which I think is doofy. Pip is given money from a "mysterious benefactor" and he goes off to become a gentlemen or whatever it is they do in England. Afterwards, he wears really big bow ties and speaks formally, and he assumes he will marry Estella because of this. I guess conflict comes of the fact that he doesn't, but I didn't notice, because I didn't care.

Ok, I sound mean. Deep breaths. Charles Dickens can't get me. Probably. I felt like it took me all day to watch this movie, and so I feel like I wasted my whole day, which is why I feel so annoyed by the movie. It's not the director's fault that the movie is so blah. It's mostly just that I wasn't familiar with the source material and didn't really want to be, honestly. I don't get Dickens, although I've never tried very hard to, so it's mostly my fault that I didn't like the movie. I know that Dickens is a great author, I'm just not a fan, from the very little that I've read. Probably this is an issue with me, and not so much anything else.

So, in conclusion, I didn't really like this movie for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because I never read Great Expectations or have really been a fan of Dickens. It felt really long and dull, and just did not work for me today. I just could not get into this movie, no matter how hard I tried. I really liked the scenes with the creepy Miss Havisham. She was a great, over-the-top character, but I totally bought into it because they set she was in was so well crafted and the actress was so incredible. Her scenes were really interesting and eerie, and I really enjoyed those. Other than that, I didn't love too much about this. Instead of whining endlessly, I'll just keep my thoughts short. :)

Have any of you seen Great Expectations? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Great Expectations
Buy it on Amazon

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