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Based on Charles Dickens' timeless tale, this is a story of the love of a man for an unreachable woman. Updated to modern day New York City, the story concerns a man of modest background who falls in love with a rich girl. But when a mysterious benefactor greenlights the man to make his dreams come true, everything done has the ultimate goal of making Estella fall in love with him... Written by
Steve Richer <email@example.com>
Spellbinding from the first shot. Supurb performances. ***1/2 out of ****
Great Expectations (1998) ***1/2
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft, Chris Cooper, Robert DeNiro and Kim Dickens Director: Alfonso Cuaron 111 minutes Rated R
By Blake French:
The only thing keeping "Great Expectations" from being one of the best films of the year is the dialogue, which is too proper. The characters act like the everything they do must be out of perfection. When in reality, some of the film's characters would be gruff, careless people.
The movie is spellbinding from the first shot. That is undoubtfully because of the character development, which so many movies fail at these days. And not only are they adequately developed, they are engaging. The audience can relate to them as well as understand them. Now these are signs of a superb movie in the making.
The movie opens with a small boy, about ten years of age, being overtaken by a man who we later learn is a death sentenced escapee. He orders the pedestrian to bring selected materials to him early the next morning, and never to tell a soul of his terrifying experience. He does as he is told.
The boy is named Finnegan Bell, a poor, unfortunate child who lives with his older sister and her husband. The uncle, Joe, soon excepts a job from an extraordinarily eccentric mistress, Ms. Dinsmoor, and her spoiled daughter, Estella. Under circumstances, Finn is able to meet the young girls, about ten years of age as well, and later on becomes close friends with her and the woman
Years pass, Finn is still inevitably attracted to Estella, despite her emotionless personality. Unfortunately, she leaves the state to study her future career. Finn is devastated. He gives up his wonderful talent of art and goes into cruise drive for the next seven years.
An offer is made to him almost a decade later, to move to New York, where Estella lives at this time, and pursue a career as a professional artist. He excepts, and soon after he arrives, his paths cross with his love once again, but things aren't as they seem at first sight.
Do Finn and Estella follow a life of marriage together? Is Estella still interested in Finn, or does she have other romantic plans? I will not revel the answers to these questions. I will leave it up to you to watch this masterpiece destined to become a romantic classic. However, I will say that if you are not familiar with this old tale from Charles Dickens, things are very unpredictable, and this is not you typical, run-of-the-mill love story.
The performances are truly Oscar worthy, too bad I didn't see this movie when I came out. For I am reviewing it a year later, because I saw it on video, for free, that is. But I certainly would have paid full price to screen this gem, just to tell others how mesmerizing it is.
I loved Anne Bancroft, as the crazy widow. She is gorgeous, breathtaking, and one of a kind, as is Paltrow, as Estella herself. Ethan Hawke performs a down-to-earth character with interest and convincing situation. Chris Cooper, Robert DeNiro and Kim Dickens all provide strong supporting role, especially De Niro, but none are on screen enough to make an actual mark.
Another beautiful element in "Great Expectations" is the production design: in the houses the atmosphere is all lush, glamorous and interesting. It provides the characters with a firm foundation, which they certainly take advantage of. As a matter of fact, everyone involved with the creation of the film takes careful interest into everything they do. For this is one of the most luscious movies of the decade.
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