6.8/10
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196 user 79 critic

Great Expectations (1998)

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Modernization of Charles Dickens classic story finds the hapless Finn as a painter in New York City pursuing his unrequited and haughty childhood love.

Director:

Alfonso Cuarón

Writers:

Charles Dickens (novel), Mitch Glazer (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,497 ( 99)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ethan Hawke ... Finnegan Bell
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Estella
Hank Azaria ... Walter Plane
Chris Cooper ... Joe
Anne Bancroft ... Ms. Dinsmoor
Robert De Niro ... Prisoner / Lustig
Josh Mostel ... Jerry Ragno
Kim Dickens ... Maggie
Nell Campbell ... Erica Thrall
Gabriel Mann ... Owen (as Gabriel Mick)
Jeremy James Kissner ... Finnegan at Age 10
Raquel Beaudene ... Estella at Age 10
Stephen Spinella ... Carter Macleish
Marla Sucharetza ... Ruth Shepard
Isabelle Anderson Isabelle Anderson ... Lois Pope
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Storyline

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 <sricher@sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | gulf coast | florida | lawyer | girl | See All (41) »

Taglines:

Let desire be your destiny.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Portuguese

Release Date:

30 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Grandes esperanzas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,593,290, 1 February 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$26,333,044, 29 March 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$55,494,066
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Chris Cooper, Anne Bancroft, Robert De Niro, and Gwyneth Paltrow; and one Oscar nominee: Ethan Hawke. See more »

Goofs

During the beginning sequence where the young Finn is splashing through the shallow water, drawing in his notebook, you can see indentations in the page indicating where the creatures eye is to be drawn See more »

Quotes

Prisoner: You bite your nails? It's a bad habit. People always tell you that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Bullshit. It's your hands, that's the sign of a gentleman.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are accompanied by images of all the artwork drawn by Finnegan Bell (Ethan Hawke). They run the entire duration of credits. See more »

Connections

Version of As Grandes Esperanças (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Let It Go
Words and Music by Louis Natale (as Lou Natale)
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User Reviews

 
Spellbinding from the first shot. Supurb performances. ***1/2 out of ****
30 July 1999 | by Movie-12See all my reviews

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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