Great Expectations movie poster
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Great Expectations movie poster

Great Expectations Movie Review

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Ethan Hawke and Gwenyth Paltrow star in the updated version of Charles Dickens' classic Great Expectations, a peculiar romance that spans twenty years.

Ethan Hawke is Finnegan, the main character (also played for a long time by Jeremy James Kissner) who falls in love with the niece of a crazy woman, Estella (Gwenyth Paltrow and Raquel Beaudene). Estella and her aunt are rich, and Estella especially looks down on Finn, but at the same time likes him. As he grows up, he realizes that to win her heart he has to break out of his class and become someone higher than he was meant to be, and he gets that chance by selling art.

The acting is quite good and I was extremely impressed with Hawke, who has had an up and down career over the years. He is believable and crisp at the same time and the chemistry really stirs between him and Paltrow, two very good-looking actors. Paltrow has one of her sexier roles in Great Expectations but never once is she really shown in the nude, at least not clearly. Still, her beauty only helps her acting which combine to make a great character.

The story, however, is a little slow. It does take a good twenty years for the two to final confess their feelings to each other, which means that there is a lot of waiting. Paltrow's character becomes dislikeable at times as she seems to neglect the title character, but at other times they are very affectionate to each other. Finn seems to forgive her very quickly for all the hardship she put him through, not to mention her selfishness.

Robert DeNiro also has a good part as the criminal who confronts Finn in the beginning of the film and again in the end. It is sort of a strange clash to have this story coinciding with the love story, but there is also a deeper meaning to it all. The ending seems a little out of place for a story of this nature but also draws a good deal of emotion.

I watched this movie alone even though it is very much a date movie. The main reason I wanted to see this movie was because of Gwenyth Paltrow, and I wasn't disappointed. The only flaw the film has is that it is a little slow at times, but overall, Great Expectations exceeded my expectations.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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