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Mr. Pip
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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A great film...

10/10
Author: rainworx from Canada
18 March 2014

A great film...I thought Xzannjah Matsi, Healesville Joel and Hugh Laurie were amazing in this story set on Bougainville Island, part of the Solomon Islands, in Papua New Guinea. This film was a little brutal at times and unfortunately, demonstrates the heartless soul in some on this earth but a movie definitely worth the time and worth watching! Bougainville Island is a beautiful setting for this film where Hugh Laurie plays a teacher who takes the islands' children on a journey through a novel by Charles Dickens - Great Expectations. Set in a time of great island conflict over an open pit copper mine and the various fighting factions of the government and the island rebels. Beautifully done...well done!

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17 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Watch this one for the excellent acting...

7/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
20 March 2014

Mr. Pip is an unusual case where I liked the acting and direction much more than the story itself. In fact, in many ways, the story seems like the least important part of the film and it left me, at times, a bit flat.

This film is set during the 1990s when the island of Bougainville was locked in a civil war against Papua New Guinea over their copper rights. It's a struggle that we seldom, if ever, heard of here in the States. Because of the war, schools have been closed for some time and there are occasionally periods of extreme violence. However, the lone white man on the island, Mr. Watts (Hugh Laurie), has decided that he'll try to teach the kids—even though he really knows nothing about teaching. Although he's not a trained teacher and is well out of his league in many ways, he is able to instill within the kids a love of literature. When he reads Dickens' Great Expectations, the kids eat it up. Of these, Matilda (Xzannjah Matsi) is perhaps the most voracious. In fact, her love of this story is so great that she longs to one day go to England and see it for herself. Much of the story is about her and her imagining that she is a character within this novel. In fact, I wish MORE of the film had been devoted to this—it was among the best parts of the film.

While this is the main plot of the film, there are LOTS of little detours here and there—as if the story itself is secondary. At times, it seemed like the lost track of the Great Expectations theme—and other times, it seemed really important. What is important are the wonderful performances in the movie. Laurie is excellent as usual—and it's nice to hear him speaking with his native English accent. His American accent was so convincing, I am sure many viewers of his hit show had no idea he is a Brit! However, what really impressed me where the wonderful performances by the natives—non-professional actors who did an excellent job nevertheless. They seemed very natural and real. I would attribute this as well as the nice look of the film to the director, Andrew Adamson. Adamson is famous for the Shrek and the Narnia films— movies that really are about as different from Mr. Pip as you can get!

So who is the audience for this film? Well, although it sure looks like a family film during much of the picture, it clearly is not and I would definitely not let kids see the film. There is some horrific violence late in the film that just make the movie too intense for younger viewers. It also is quite depressing in places. However, for teens and people looking for something different, it is worth seeing just for the performances.

By the way, if you are curious, the story is based on a book by Lloyd Jones and it is available through most booksellers.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful and sadly unknown movie

8/10
Author: pajevich from Serbia
4 August 2014

I really enjoyed watching this movie, and I got much more than I expected. This movie shows universality of the world, despite cultural differences. It shows sorrow and joy, the good and bad in people. Hugh Laurie is truly a magnificent actor, who very well portrayed mysterious man yet full of sorrow. It shows how life is unpredictable, how life is simultaneousness of good and bad things. When I finished watching this movie I remembered the famous quote "there is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future". If you decide to watch this movie you'll enjoy the wonderful scenes filmed in Papua New Guinea and New Zealend, wonderful acting by Hugh Laurie and Xzannjah Matsi, story about life how it really is. This movie was filmed two years ago and it is still relatively unknown. I hope this will change because this is a movie that everyone should see. This is maybe not a movie for Oscars (not that it's not better than many movies that had won best picture), but you will enjoy watching it, you'll feel sad at the moments, but you will think about it later on.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Stays with you long after you see it!

10/10
Author: WingedHeartOhio from NE Ohio
15 April 2014

When I first read what this movie was about, I wasn't quite sure what to think about it. Then, from the very beginning, I didn't have to think as I truly FELT every word, every victory, every cruel and unjust act. Hugh Laurie was absolutely fantastic as the teacher and only white man in the province of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, where a war wages on over control of the world's largest open copper mine. It is he who introduces the children to Charles Dickens' novel, Great Expectations. As skilled as Laurie is, the real star of this movie is young Xzannjah Matsi as Matilda. She becomes totally enthralled with the novel and fantasizes herself as part of it. There is great beauty in this movie -- the relationship between teacher and student, the tropical scenery, etc. However, as unsettling as it is, there is also great tragedy and violence as one would imagine. What is truly commendable is the way this director has interwoven the two. I highly recommend this thought-provoking, well-acted, and well-written movie. It will stay with you long after the last scene is over.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Exceptional film which brings justice to the original novel

9/10
Author: tegantiu from Australia
25 April 2014

The film centres on a young girl, Matilda, who lives with her mom in a Bougainville village in Papua New Guinea. During a time of civil war, all the whites of the village have left, with one, Mr Watts, remaining on the island with his native wife. Mr Watts is brought to the local school in an attempt to teach the children of the village. It is here that the children are introduced to 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens, and find a friend in the central character, Pip.

Filmed on location in Papua New Guinea, the director has accurately captured village life throughout the film with colourful scenes and beautiful cinematography, as well as a script that reflects characteristics of New Guinean language and humour.

Xzannjah Matsi and Healesville Joel do a wonderful job in bringing their characters of Matilda and Dolores to life with great conviction. Hugh Laurie also does a good job portraying the slightly sad and slightly mysterious Mr Watts who lives on the island with his Bougainvillean wife Grace.

Set during a dark time in Papua New Guinean history, some scenes might disturb some viewers, however the violence that is present in the story is approached tactfully in which it is suggestive and the viewer is spared too many visual details.

Overall, Mr Pip is an exceptional film which brings justice to the original novel. Stunningly filmed, well written, entertaining and endearing, Mr Pip is a truly memorable film and great achievement in Australasian cinema.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Every masterwork can't be understood by everyone.

8/10
Author: Reno Rangan from Somewhere in the Cosmos
25 August 2014

A novel based movie and partially a true story that set on a Pacific island with the backdrop of the 90s civil war. The film was directed by a New Zealand filmmaker who was known for 'Shrek' and 'Narnia' movie series. One of the best movies of the year 2013 I have seen. Looks like it was not noticed largely, but definitely worth to give a try. Little slow in narration, especially the opening which talks about the inspiration of a masterwork. But the main plot was strong and ends very powerfully with a message about facing reality of life.

This was the story of a teenage girl, Matilda. It begins in a remote island of the Pacific nation Papau New Guinea. As it was raged with civil war, many were already fled the scene and the few who overstayed are living in a tormented life. One of them was a British citizen called Tom Watts, who is married to a local woman. Like every other he refused to leave, but he had another reason that his wife was sick. When schools are closed he's given a charge to teach kids. The children like him and the story he tells. In a short while whole community joins. Now everyone like him, but with a little misunderstanding the scenario changes which brings a twist in the tale. And the story moves to the next level from the perspective of Matilda, who witnessed all these cruelties before it wraps up as her memories of the childhood life.

''We all need a change sometimes to help us on our way.''

A unique movie, including the cast and culture of the community from the where it has taken place. Hugh Laurie was good, but the others were impressed me a lot. Especially the lead girl who came up on the screen as the character Matilda. She was so cute and also performed incredibly awesome. The whole story narrated from her view as what she saw. It commences as a regular drama and showcases the lifestyle of the small community. Very nicely developed each scene, in fact, the story was highly connected to the Charles Dickens novel 'Great Expectations'. Not as a story wise, but as the inspiration. I would say it was a smartly done work by the author who wrote this book (Mister Pip). In the film adaptation as well, everything was showed neatly. Including the diverged plot that occasionally appears with all the beautiful costumes which imitates the Dickens novel. The last quarter of the movie brought an unexpected shock that I was not prepared for. Afterwards it pulls as much it can with the sustainable amount of sentiments till the final credits roll up. It is another excellent movie that is not a must see, but you will come to know its worth if you give a try.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

a bittersweet coming-of-age story about the loss of innocence

6/10
Author: gregking4 from Australia
13 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A co-production between Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea, Mr Pip is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about the loss of innocence, and also about the power of the imagination and literature to inspire and change a person's life. This is a theme that has driven a number of other films like The Neverending Story, the darker The Reader, and even Freedom Writers. The film is set on Bougainville Island, in the eastern part of Papua New Guinea, in the late 1980s, which was a turbulent and troubled time for the residents. At that time Bougainville was the world's largest producer of copper. But a dispute between the mining companies and PNG rebels resulted in the mines being closed down. Most of the able bodied men and all of the white inhabitants have wisely left the island for the relative safety and stability of Australia. But one man has stayed behind. Tom Watts (played by Hugh Laurie, best known for playing the cynical doctor on popular TV series House) is a former actor who is married to a local woman (Florence Korokoro) and remains in the village. He decides to reopen the local school building which has been closed down. He begins to read Charles Dickens' classic novel Great Expectations to the village children, hoping that the words of one of England's greatest writers will distract them from the horrors surrounding them. His actions touch a chord with an intelligent and curious young girl named Matilda (played by newcomer Xzannajah Matsi). Her father has left for Australia, leaving Matilda in the care of her emotionally fragile, deeply troubled and deeply religious mother. Matilda often indulges in flights of fancy where she imagines herself living in the story itself and carrying on her own romance with Pip (Eka Darville). But the civil war itself is never far away and the presence of soldiers looking for rebels and their supporters brings danger and death to the village. Laurie plays against type here, but he brings a world weary quality and a sense of regret and loss to his performance. His Watts is not a hero in the conventional sense, but in some ways his actions are heroic. The rest of the cast largely comprises of nonprofessionals who deliver realistic and credible performances as the villagers. Also impressive is newcomer Xzannjah, who brings a wonderful sense of innocence and resilience to her performance. The film is based on the novel written by Lloyd Jones, and the material obviously resonated with New Zealand born director Andrew Adamson, who also spent some time in Papua New Guinea while growing up. Mr Pip gives us a glimpse into the culture, spiritual beliefs and politics of this exotic and unfamiliar location, but he doesn't shy away from depicting some of the violence and harrowing reality of life for the villagers. Mr Pip is a labour of love for Adamson, who is better known for his work on more family oriented fare like the first two animated Shrek series and the special effects driven Chronicles Of Narnia. But he handles the material here effectively, and doesn't flinch away from showing some of the darker aspects of life in this deceptively idyllic island location which is being torn apart by civil war. Mr Pip has been beautifully photographed by Australian cinematographer John Toon, who captures the lush forest setting. The film is let down slightly by some pacing problems, some obvious plot holes, and an unsatisfactory ending.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful

10/10
Author: ndaray from Budapest
24 April 2014

In few words: food for thought! Shocked me in good and bad kinds too. As I watched I cried and laughed at the same time.

A beautiful and sad story about both sides of humanity. Good persons with kindness and faith and fantasy, and bad ones with ignorance and malice and guns. Love versus hate. Like many countries in the World. But we need to believe in love. This movie what must see... must see with your loved ones and family and friends! Hugh Laurie was fantastic as always, and Xzannjah impressed me with her natural talent. and I think I want to read the book by Dickens' Great Expectations.

Thank you very much for the creators of this movie miracle!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Mediocre

6/10
Author: ReganRebecca from Canada
10 January 2017

It's truly amazing, but writer/director Andrew Adamson takes so many interesting elements that could have potentially made a great story and flattens them out so they are dull and boring. Perhaps this is the fault of the novel, I don't know having never read it, but on it's own Mr. Pip stands as a mediocre piece of art which is quite sad as it has an explosive backdrop and some quite lovely things to say.

Matilda Naimo (newcomer Xzannjah Matsi) lives on the island of Bougainville in the early 90s, during a vicious struggle for independence. Most of the men, including Matilda's father have fled overseas along with all the white population, with the exception of one white man, known familiarly as Popeye to the locals, who remains to take care of his wife, a native Bougainvillean named Grace. A blockade is imposed to starve out the rebels meaning their are no teachers and fewer resources. Despite not being a teacher, Popeye (real name Mr. Watts), decides to educate the local children, mostly by reading to them from Great Expectations. His eye is quickly caught by Matilda who is a whiz at math (something brought up once and then abruptly dropped), and she warms to him because she immediately strongly connects with the story of Great Expectations and the protagonist Pip.

A lot of the movie has to do with the power of literature and how strongly it can connect with people and help them through life. There are some nice scenes that show Matilda's point of view where she imagines Great Expectations but because she lives on a tropical island, the places and customs she imagines are much closer to her culture that Victorian England (a technique done to even greater effect in Tarsem Singh's The Fall).

Another thing is that a huge part of the conflict is Grace's mother Dolores being incredibly suspicious of both Mr. Watts and the novel Great Expectations. Her point of view was barely represented though, so when she makes a decision involving the novel which endangers the lives of the whole village it makes no sense and is not understandable to the audience.

Furthermore even Mr. Watts who becomes a mentor to Matilda is sort of obscured in mystery. This turns out to be on purpose for this a late ending reveal but it comes so late and feels so random that I couldn't bring myself to care.

A half-baked feature.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Inspired by real events, how a book or a character can become your salvation.

Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
18 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I found this movie on Netflix streaming movies. It really is a fine one, an epic of sorts inspired by real events in the early 1990s on Bougainville Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. That island was at one time the largest source of mined copper, and a civil war shut it down and threatened the existence of the islanders.

Hugh Laurie is the lead actor as Mr. Watts, the lone remaining white face in this community of very dark-skinned people. He stayed for his "wife" Grace who was one of the natives. (We later find out he had a wife back in London but left her to be with Grace, whom he got to know in London.)

So with the islanders stranded and no school, Mr Watts decides he will try to fill the void. On his first day he quickly admits that he is not a teacher, he has no actual teaching skills, but he would use Charles Dickens as his muse, and "Great Expectations" as a teaching tool.

One of his students is 12-yr-old Xzannjah Matsi as Matilda. Her dad had left to go to Australia for work a few years ago, leaving her and her mother waiting for an opportunity that never came to join him. Her mother is played by Healesville Joel as Dolores, who in real life actually is her mother.

It is worth noting here that aside from Lawrie, most of the characters on the island are played by first-timers who had no prior acting experience. I can't say enough about Xzannjah, she has a face that seems to be carved out of Ebony, flawless features, and her natural acting style makes her ultimately believable.

The story is an epic one, and ends when Matilda has gotten off the island, and actually gets a chance to visit the historic home of Charles Dickens.

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