Critic Reviews

60

Metascore

Based on 23 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
Newell's film doesn't supplant Lean's, of course. The yearning is more vague, the gloom less consummate. But it's the best since, rich in feeling and dark beauty, alive with the superior scenecraft, chatter, and imagination of the most beloved of novelists.
75
It's an oft-told tale, but director Mike Newell's handsome version of Charles Dickens' epic novel is marked by strong performances, well-developed characters and gorgeous cinematography.
75
So even though this isn't the greatest of “Expectations” - David Lean's black and white version in the '40s will your heart - it's still a pretty grand one.
75
Director Mike Newell and screenwriter David Nicholls focus on the major plot points of the well-known story. Their attempts mostly work but at times the film, despite its two-hour-plus length, feels rushed and truncated.
75
More important, Nicholls has created a rich alternative conclusion, one that poignantly sweetens the love story. It's a novel approach to Great Expectations - sharp and gritty giving way to a sentimental finish - and a satisfying one.
70
Vivid characterizations from Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter are the highlights of Mike Newell's traditional retelling of the classic Dickens novel.
63
If your own expectations are not too high, you crave period-costume drama and you're one of those unfortunate people who refuses to watch anything in glorious black-and-white, this Great Expectations is worth the time and effort.
63
An honorable, sober but completely unnecessary take on the Dickens novel, Great Expectations serves as a fine introduction to the story but won't excite those familiar with previous versions.
60
It's handsome, involving and stars the cream of British acting talent - but so did Lean's unbeatable version, and Newell and Nicholls' safe, schoolteacher-friendly interpretation makes no real case for going down this much-travelled road once more.
60
A watchable and accessible revival, though not groundbreaking, and not quite matching the story's passionate fear and rapture.
60
Working from a tightly compressed screenplay by David Nicholls, director Mike Newell strikes the beats of a deservedly oft-told tale with dour competence but little in the way of dramatic inspiration or visual flair.
60
What marks out director Mike Newell and writer David Nicholls's version is its impeccable acting.
60
Big vistas and big names can't compensate for the film's necessity to cram Dickens' rich, sprawling set of characters and twisty subplots into a two-hour film.
60
Once Pip reaches the big city, Newell starts losing the dramatic focus, piling on incidents and revelations with a bombastic force that makes it seem as if we're watching a cheap 19th-century telenovela.
60
Director Mike Newell's rich take on the story is a fine introduction for new viewers.
50
The Newell Great Expectations is just a good-looking Classics Illustrated rundown, something to help high schoolers labor through a Dickens English assignment a little faster.
40
It's less an adaptation than a recapitulation.

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