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(Review originally written at 13 October 2009)

It's funny how all Charles Dickens' based novels have a certain distinctive style and atmosphere. It doesn't matter if the movie got made in the '40's or in the present time, all movies feel and look alike, which is due to the recognizable Dickens writing of the situations and characters.

Great Expectations is not Charles Dickens best known work and when it comes down to movies, it also isn't his most adapted book. And I think this is for a good reason so. The story, while itself is simply good, doesn't really lend itself very well for the movie form. The story in its build up is quite predictable because of the way things get set up in the movie.

But even so, it still is a quite charming movie to watch. It's a drama but a drama with a Dickens touch to it, meaning that it often shows things from a child's viewpoint and the movie is also not without it's fun and warm characters. It's a drama yes but in some way the movie is also a bit of a feel good movie.

It's not David Lean's best movie but that has more to do with the overall small scale of the movie. Lean is of course best known for making big epic movies later in his career, such as "The Bridge on the River Kwai", "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago". It by the way also wouldn't be the last time Lean directed a Charles Dickens adaptation. His next movie project after this one would be "Oliver Twist", which again just like this movie would also star a yet unknown Alec Guinness. This movie was the first of a total of six movies Lean and Guiness would make together as a director and actor.

It overall is a well told and good looking movie, despite being predictable. Lean did a good job with the available material and with making this a good drama to watch as well as one with warmth to it.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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