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27 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic adaptation of a Dickens' classic -Toby Jones is superb !

Author: AJP1968 from Surrey, England
27 December 2007

I was fortunate enough to catch this on ITV last night, and I must say it was one of the finest dramas I have seen on television in a very long time, certainly the best this year ! I don't normally watch much Dickens and have read only Great Expectations, so thought it might be hard-going ! However, how wrong could I be ! Toby Jones was absolutely brilliant as Daniel Quilp and, in my opinion, stole every scene he appeared in. His accent and mannerisms all gave his character so much depth you forgot you were watching the same actor who recently played Truman Capote with so much depth in the belatedly released Infamous. This excellent production only reinforces what an incredibly versatile and talented actor Toby is, and I sincerely hope that his powerful and convincing performance here will help him gain the worldwide recognition he truly deserves.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The DVD runs only 93 minutes & that is the best thing.

Author: Jay Harris ( from United States
16 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have seen many Movie & & Television versions of Charles Dickens many novels & stories.

In nearly every one that I saw, I at least liked them & saw merit.

In this version, the only merit I found is that it was only 93 minutes long.

I found nothing likable in any part of it. The production was competent, except for the phony snow in the concluding scenes.

The acting helped me not liking this to a great degree,

The actress who played Nell looked far older than the 14 yrs old girl she was supposed to be & she was not convincing at all.

Derek Jacoby as the grandfather was surprisingly not good. Toby Jones as the villain Quilp was more laughable than menacing.

The young lad who played Kit was OK but he was not in it enough.

This is a a big miss by any standards.

Ratings: ** (out of 4) 52 points (out of 100) IMDb 4 (out of 10)

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Superior Dickens adaptation...

Author: jc-osms from United Kingdom
2 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Much better than the BBC's recent episodic "Oliver Twist" starring Edward Fox, this filmic, abridged version of "The Old Curiosity Shop" satisfies on many levels. The cinematography is excellent, particularly the depictions of the rain and snow in Dickensian England and while the narrative has to be cropped to be fitted into a two hour programme, I recognised enough elements in the story from the original book to satisfy. The casting and playing by the leads are what really take the production to a different level, particularly a barnstorming performance by Toby Jones as the villainous Quilp. Derek Jacobi is also convincing as the grandfather whose weakness for gambling leads to a rare bitter-sweet ending for Dickens with the famous (or as Oscar Wilde would have it, infamous) death of Nell. There's also a pleasing sprinkling of major UK acting talent in minor parts such as Gina McKee as Brass's sister, Zoe Wanamaker as Mrs Jarley and Martin Freeman as a side-show con-man - they're all excellent whilst young Sophie Vavasseur plays another of Dickens' impossibly demure and saintly teenage female leads with aplomb. I absolutely loved it and commend all for purveying excellent Christmas entertainment.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: elspeth-11 from Canada
6 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was very disappointed.

Mind you, I didn't like the book very much either - the ending is so pointless. But the book did have a lot of charming elements. The best of these was the relationship that developed between Dick Swiveller (excellently portrayed by Geoff Breton in the tiny remnant of his role) and the "Marchioness" (played by Charlene McKenna). In the book, (if I recall correctly after 35+ years) Dick Swiveller falls ill and the Marchioness finds him in his lodging and nurses him back to health. They are able to save young Kit Nubbles from transportation to penal servitude in Australia at the last possible moment. None of that here.

Also charming was the interlude with Mrs. Jarley (here played excellently by Zoë Wanamaker), again cut to the bone. I found it impossible to care about Nell and her grandfather in either medium - the grandfather is too irresponsible and self-absorbed and Nell is too insipid.

*******SPOILERS FOLLOW********

Hard to imagine all those respectable Victorians grieving for her. I'm (almost) with Oscar Wilde on this one - "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing." (OK, I shed a tear.) I find the malice of Quilp and the whole chase almost entirely unmotivated, although I agree that Toby Jones did a great job with him.

I don't get all the stuff about spoilers - I mean the book has been out for nearly 170 years - there's no secret here!!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Worthy Adaptation

Author: telegonus from brighton, ma
29 February 2012

I like this recent, surprisingly short (given the length of the novel) adaptation of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop. There are a fair number of negative reviews and comments here and I really can't argue with them. Film is so much a matter of taste. I caught this one at the right time. It drew me in.

What impressed me most perhaps was less the story itself than the film's evocation of early 19th century London. Director Brian Percival and his associates deserve a lot of praise for the ambiance; and the actors and their costumes were well matched. This is (for me) a rare occasion as one of the reasons I seldom watch recent adaptations of classic fiction is that everything looks too modern; the actors don't look at ease in the setting; and there's always something contemporary feeling threatening to take the movie over entirely. I didn't get this here.

In terms of style and content this version of The Old Curiosity Shop evoked memories of the series of low budget horror films Val Lewton produced in Hollywood back some seventy years ago. It's not a horror picture, but what happens to the children in the story is often horrifying; and the tone is nearly seductively dark, with hints of all manner of perversion lurking on the sidelines. At its best the film plays like a first rate B movie. I mean that as a compliment. It's very good, not great, but then I don't sense that it was aiming that high.

Oops! The story. It's awfully complicated and would take nine more paragraphs to properly summarize. It's basically about how greed and poverty destroyed the innocence of children in the London of Dickens' era; and how good men doing bad things can do as much harm as bad men doing same. In other words, to paraphrase a famous thinker, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing about it. Worse yet, if good men aren't pro-active in their virtue, vigilant about it, as the grandfather in this story is not, the terms of their lives shall be dictated by men up to no good. This is a lesson worth learning.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

too divergent from novel

Author: weedmic from Israel
29 August 2013

I thought the film was fine and I'm glad I watched it, but...

I just finished reading the book and almost nothing is based on the book.

They skipped the donkey, Kit's wonderful patrons, the relations between all the actors, the sisters at the girl's school.

Kit spent over a week in prison, in the book.

The single gentlemen's relationship is secret for months.

What about the single gent's friends who help to get Kit free from prison?

What about kit getting his job by being so honest about coming back a week later to work off his shilling advance?

And what happened to Tom? He wasn't even in the film at all.

They should have just made a new title and said it was based on The Old Curiosity Shop.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not at all bad, as a matter of fact surprisingly good

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
19 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I do have a confession to make- I haven't read the book, so I can't judge how much this surprisingly good adaptation deviates from the source. The adaptation itself looks lovely, with wonderful period detail, stunning photography and costumes throughout. The plot is quite complicated, and once the adaptation gets going, after a fairly slow start, is fairly easy to follow. My other couple of complaints, are some weak scripting in places, and Sophie Vassaveur did look too old for Nell Trent. However, like I've already said, it looks beautiful, and the acting wasn't too bad either. Derek Jacobi rarely disappoints in anything he's in, and acquits himself well here as the grandfather, and Zoe Wannamaker is fine as Mrs Jarley. Quilp is played with magnificent seediness by Toby Jones, in easily one of his better performances. The other actors are good, but the ones I've mentioned were the ones that impressed me most. And I do have to mention the ending of this adaptation. When Nell dies, I do remember crying when I saw that, seeing such a likable character die on screen is enough to make anyone cry. All in all, it is flawed, but not at all bad. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Charles Dickens as told by a British crew.

Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
21 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a student in high school and college I was a reluctant reader, and especially of British writers, like Charles Dickens. Looking back I suspect a lot of that was my inability to visualize accurately. At least that is the excuse I am sticking with for now.

In this movie we have a British production company with a marvelous "visualization" of how things might have been in the time of Dickens. The people, the costumes, the dark and dirty streets, all add up to superb atmosphere for this movie now on DVD.

It has a pretty simple plot. Grandfather owns the "Old Curiosity Shop" but grandfather always seems to be broke. He regularly has to borrow money from the local weasel businessman Quilp, who follows grandfather one evening to learn that he has a bad habit, gambling with cards. To top it off, he is a poor gambler, and always loses, but he has the addiction. Quilp wants the Curiosity Shop and sets out to get it. But he also wants the 14 year old granddaughter for himself, even though he is already married.

An all-star cast, Derek Jacobi is the Grandfather, Toby Jones is Daniel Quilp, and Sophie Vavasseur is the granddaughter, Nell Trent.

SPOILERS: Grandfather and Nell make a run for it one night, and the rest of the story has Quilp chasing them. They move from one place to another, often narrowly escaping those hunting them. Nell's long lost father shows up, to save the day. Then Quilp gets his just reward, he falls through thin ice and his wife watches as he drowns just below the ice.

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