Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 128 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 14+. Most teenagers read “Great Expectations” in high school, so the content syncs up with the PG-13 rating quite well. Some child abuse; class struggle; a violent criminal who threatens a child; a crazy benefactress out for revenge against all men; two teenagers in love; some sexual tension. Overall, though, the film chooses not to exaggerate upon Charles Dickens’s original work, which keeps it fairly teen-friendly.
Director Mike Newell’s adaptation of Dickens’s classic ‘Great Expectations’ benefits not only from pretty actors but from pretty good acting, too. But the overly rapid pace and dutiful approach makes it more fitting for teenagers looking for visual CliffsNotes than it is a truly deep, thoughtful interpretation of the text.
By Roxana Hadadi
Sure, we’ve had numerous adaptations of Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” so far, and sure, maybe we didn’t need another. Nevertheless, director Mike Newell certainly put a lot of effort into this one, attracting a wide range of experienced British actors—Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter among them—to do the heavy lifting and making it period-piece beautiful. Still, something is missing; passion, perhaps. For a story so deeply about love and hate, Newell’s “Great Expectations” is strangely listless.