Great Expectations (2012)

Out Now On-Demand

Faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens' mightiest novel, with Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham and Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch. Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral).

Young orphan Pip (Jeremy Irvine, War Horse) is given a chance to rise from his humble beginnings thanks to a mysterious benefactor. Moving through London's class-obsessed world as a gentleman, Pip uses his newfound position to pursue the beautiful Estella (Holliday Grainger, Jane Eyre); a spoilt heiress he's loved since childhood. Yet the truth behind his great fortune will have devastating consequences for everything he holds dear...

Director Newell told Empire Magazine: "It has a different tone [to previous adaptations]. It's partly a thriller, but it's partly about treachery and letting people down that you shouldn’t let down."


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Rating: M Violence & content that may disturb


Official Site

Surprisingly just the second proper adaptation of the Dickens classic and staple of university Stage 1 English, this lavishly costumed, supremely cast period drama hits all the themes, twists and turns without ever really providing anything memorable.

Bonham Carter is suitably vampiric as the decaying Miss Havisham, Fiennes tones down the Voldermort scares just a notch to bring to life Magwitch and Jason Flemyng is excellent as the simple blacksmith and father figure Joe. However, having been outacted and outclassed by the horse in his last role, Irvine is actually outshone by his younger brother Toby here, while the excellently monikered Grainger struggles to overcome Estella’s fundamental one-dimensionalism.

Empire (UK)


Schoolteacher-friendly interpretation... makes no real case for going down this much-travelled road once more.

Guardian (UK)


An attractive and robust screen adaptation of the classic 1861 Dickens parable...

Hollywood Reporter


Vivid characterizations from Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter are the highlights.

Little White Lies (UK)


It's all very Tim Burton - but eccentric Victoriana is a fitting spin on a familiar tale.

Total Film (UK)


Its glossy looks, first-rate playing and famous pedigree will be cat-nip to book-groupies.

Urban Cinefile


Newell retains the core elements of the story and key characters as well as the authentic elements of the period, but still manages to make the film a fresh experience.

Variety (USA)


A passable adaptation that does little to burnish the estimable screen legacy of a Dickens classic.